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November 14, 2008

Governor Blagojevich Proclaims World Diabetes Day in Illinois and Calls for a Stronger Focus on the Growing Diabetes Epidemic among Children
Illinois highlights the importance of education and awareness

CHICAGO – Showing his concern for the increasing number of diabetes cases in Illinois, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today strongly urged all Illinoisans to learn more about diabetes and how it can be prevented and controlled through diet and exercise.  According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 840,000 Illinoisans have diabetes.  Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, accounts for nearly $7.3 billion in total direct healthcare and indirect cost every year in Illinois.


Governor Blagojevich proclaimed Friday, November 14, World Diabetes Awareness Day in Illinois to correspond with the national awareness campaign.  The theme of this year's World Diabetes Day campaign is Diabetes in Children and Adolescents.  One of the main goals of this year’s commemoration is to promote healthy lifestyles to help prevent type 2 diabetes in children.  More information is available at: www.worlddiabetesday.org/


“We often think of diabetes as an adult disease, yet diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases to affect children and is growing at alarming rates.  It can strike children of any age, even toddlers and babies.  If not detected early enough in a child, the disease can be fatal or result in serious brain damage,” said Governor Blagojevich.  “So it is vital that every parent, school teacher, school nurse, doctor and anyone involved in the care of children become familiar with the warning signs of diabetes.”


The 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey estimated that there are 840,577 or 8.8 percent of adults age 18 and older with diabetes in Illinois.  Approximately 13 percent are Black and 9.3 percent Hispanic/Latino.  The study also shows the disease devastates low-income families and those with lower education levels.  Twenty-seven percent have household incomes less than $35,000.  Fifteen percent of individuals with diabetes reported they had less than a high school education, 11 percent completed high school, and 8 percent had some college education, while 6 percent completed college.


Tragically, most respondents are not getting enough physical exercise or activity which is key to preventing diabetes.


New guidelines from the U.S. Department of Healthcare and Human Services recommend that adults avoid inactivity and get at least 150 minutes (five days a week for 30 minutes) of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity a week.  Activity should be spread throughout the week, in increments of at least 10 minutes.  This is the same activity level that was found to help prevent diabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program- which studied individuals at risk for diabetes and also encouraged them to eat healthy and reduce their weight by 5-10 percent.


Tips to lower your risk of diabetes and improve your health include:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight (Body Mass Index <25)
  • Be More Physically Active (30 minutes/day)
  • Choose the Right Amounts of Healthy Food (reduce fat, lower sodium intake, include more fruit & vegetables, limit red meat and desserts)


Know the warning signs of type 2 diabetes:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme thirst and/or hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very fatigued
  • Blurred vision
  • Sores that do not heal


“People with diabetes can prevent or delay the progression of complications through changes in lifestyle, by practicing goal-oriented management of blood glucose, lipids and blood pressure, receiving diabetes self-management education, eating healthy foods, increasing physical activity,  maintaining a healthy body weight, and receiving recommended eye and foot examinations,” said Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.  “Individuals with diabetes, or other chronic disease, should strive for 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity each week, divided into 10 minute (or working up to 10 minutes) increments spread throughout the day.”

In 2006, Governor Blagojevich signed legislation to create the Illinois State Diabetes Commission.  They met for the first time in May of 2007 and are working to develop a strategy for prevention, treatment and control of diabetes.


Also, the Diabetes Research Check Off Fund, created by the governor in 2005, has received enough donations to remain on the Illinois Income Tax forms for another year.  The fund provides more than $100,000 annually for diabetes research. 


Money collected in this fund is given to the IDHS to provide grants for Diabetes research.  Taxpayers may contribute to the fund by indicating on their income tax return form the amount they wish to donate.  The donation either increases the amount the taxpayer owes or reduces the refund.  IDHS distributes donations to fund approved research projects for juvenile diabetes.  The money contributed through the Diabetes Research Check off Fund is divided equally between the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to support diabetes research.


Local health departments and community health centers participate in the IDHS Diabetes Prevention and Control Program Case Management/Disease Management Awareness program.  Twenty-eight local health departments and community health centers across the state receive funding to assess the needs of individuals with diabetes in their communities.  Through partnerships with the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Department of Public Health and University of Illinois Extension efforts are being made to provide quality diabetes and health education.


World Diabetes Day proclamation:


WHEREAS,                 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions in the United States; 23.6 million people or 7.8 percent of the population have diabetes.  17.9 million have diagnosed diabetes and 5.7 million undiagnosed.  In Illinois, more than 841,626 adults (age 18 and older) or 8.8 percent have diagnosed diabetes.  An additional 260,000 adults may have undiagnosed diabetes and approximately 3 million people are at increased risk for developing diabetes due to age, obesity and sedentary lifestyle; and


WHEREAS,                 type 2 diabetes can be prevented in those at high risk by changes in lifestyle with improved diet, increased physical activity, and/or modest weight loss; and  


WHEREAS,                 in Illinois, diabetes - both type 1 and type 2 - account for nearly $7.3 billion in total direct healthcare and indirect costs every year.  It is estimated that the direct medical care costs per person per year with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than the person without diabetes.  Studies estimate that a one percent reduction in A1c values can reduce total healthcare costs for a patient with type 2 diabetes by up to $950 per year; and


WHEREAS,                 numerous studies support that people with diabetes can prevent or delay the progression of complications by practicing goal-oriented management of blood glucose, lipids and blood pressure, receiving diabetes self-management education, ensuring proper food intake and physical activity to help achieve target values, maintaining a healthy body weight, and receiving recommended eye and foot examinations; and


WHEREAS,                 as many as one in four people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer in their lifetime.  Proper daily foot care, regular examinations by a physician or podiatrist and early detection and treatment of possible ulcers may prevent amputations. People with diabetes under the care of a podiatrist or multidisciplinary health care team have fewer deep ulcers; and


WHEREAS,                 retinopathy, a disease of the small blood vessels in the retina, is one of the most common eye problems for people with diabetes; and people with diabetes have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes.  A person with diabetes should have regular eye examinations with an eye care professional.  Early detection and treatment of retinopathy may prevent further damage and blindness:  


THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim November 14, 2008 as World Diabetes Awareness DAY in Illinois.


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