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High Cost to Business of Diabetes and Obesity – You Can do Something About it!

The health of your staff makes a huge impact on your bottom line!

Diabetes and obesity have been on the rise and statistics are frightening.  Costs to employers show up a number of ways, such as in lost productivity and increased health care costs, to name just a couple.


Type I diabetes is inherited and also called “Juvenile Diabetes,” as it is most commonly diagnosed in children.  Type II diabetes (also called “Adult Onset Diabetes” is a lifestyle management disease, and is most often accompanied by obesity and other metabolic aberrations, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Though the majority of the population suffering from Type II diabetes are of workforce age, frightening us all is the fact that even 9 year old children today are being diagnosed not with Type I, but Type II!  That means the way we feed our children and the lifestyles they lead are killing them!

These health problems are preventable and since direct patient medical costs of Type II diabetes are upwards of $105.7 billion, and indirect medical costs an alarming $53.8 billion plus, it’s time Americans and American employers took the issue seriously.

A report by researchers at the Lewin Group and funded by Novo Noredisk (manufacturers of insulin and diabetes medications) was released on in 2011, and stated that $218 billion was the cost of Diabetes to the U.S.

If you haven’t begun a wellness revolution in your company as of this date you are truly being penny-wise and pound foolish.  According to the president and CEO of the National Business Coalition on Health, Mr. Andrew Webber has said the report by Novo Nordisk “gives a very persuasive argument to employers to invest in a culture of  health in their work force” (Johnson, AP/Raleigh News & Observer, 11/18).

In the U.K.there is warning that the NHS may go bankrupt due to diabetes within sone generation

Middle aged Americans “weigh” in at an alarming 30.8% obesity among ages 45-64.  African Americans are at 40.1%, Hispanics at 34.5% and Asians have the lowest rate at 8.9%.

Employers can help turn these statistics around by creating incentives, as many health plans offer incentives for healthy lifestyles but it is up to the employer to promote that fact, and brokers don’t always suggest ways to take advantage of it.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a set of resources specifically focused on managing diabetes in the workplace, (Diabetes at Work)

There is always hope for additional scientific breakthroughs for diabetes, and The American Diabetes Association scientific sessions will be held at the Philadelphia Convention Center June 8-12.  But the biggest “breakthrough” Americans and American employers can make is to look towards prevention and lifestyle management to reverse the trend and costs.


High Cost to Business of Diabetes and Obesity – You Can do Something About it!

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