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Nearly One-Third of Chicagoans Know Little or Nothing About Diabetes, Survey Says


Startling Statistics Come as Hometown Diabetes Leader, Abbott, Prepares to Welcome the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions to Chicago

In a city with diabetes rates above the national average, nearly one-third (28 percent) of Chicagoans report knowing little or nothing about the chronic disease, according to a recent survey sponsored by Abbott. Also surprising, the survey showed that among those not diagnosed with the disease, more than one-third (35 percent) believe they would not be at all prepared to manage the condition.

With the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Scientific Sessions beginning in Chicago on June 22, Abbott is preparing to welcome leading diabetes scientists to its hometown and raise awareness of the work that still needs to be done to educate the public on risk factors and disease management.

“As startling as these survey results may be, they underscore the opportunity we have to educate people about the risk factors of diabetes as well as how the disease can be managed effectively,” said John Leonard, M.D., vice president, Global Research and Development, Abbott. “As we open our city to the diabetes community for the ADA’s Scientific Sessions, now is a good time to focus on what we can do to increase awareness both in Chicago and across the country.”

The survey also asked Chicagoans to identify common beliefs about living with the disease. Most notably, more than half (54 percent) of the Chicagoans surveyed believe those living with diabetes must eat a restricted diet. Other commonly held beliefs among respondents were that monitoring glucose is a painful process (23 percent) and people with diabetes should not eat carbohydrates (18 percent). While certain foods may raise one’s glucose or sugar level, with careful monitoring and good glycemic control, a person living with diabetes can enjoy the same well-balanced diet as someone who does not have the disease.

Some good news about diabetes management has been getting through, however. Nine out of ten (90 percent) Chicago residents think that progress has been made in developing new tools for managing diabetes in the last ten years. And almost the same percentage (88 percent) believe people with diabetes can manage their disease and live long and healthy lives.

“It’s not surprising that respondents also said they believe both food and glucose monitoring are common challenges for people living with diabetes day-to-day,” said Kathy West, R.D., senior nutrition scientist, Abbott. “Abbott scientists have made strides in both areas by developing two product brands, Glucerna® nutrition products and FreeStyle® blood glucose monitoring systems, that enable people living with diabetes to live a hassle-free lifestyle. Most importantly, we want to assure people that a diabetes diagnosis does not mean the end of an active life.”

The survey of 500 respondents was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

Chicago Healthfest: Raising Awareness in the Hometown Community

To further the goal of educating Chicagoans about living a healthy lifestyle, Abbott is hosting Chicago HealthFest in Grant Park on Saturday, June 23 from noon to 4 p.m. The family-friendly event, which will feature the musical group The Pointer Sisters, will offer attendees the opportunity to assess their risk through free glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index screenings. These tests are considered essential measures that can help people understand more about their personal health and wellness. Participants also will have an opportunity to obtain samples of some of Abbott’s innovative nutritional products.


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