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Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman Challenges Americans to Achieve Diabetes Control

By Crystal D. Swann
November 22, 2004


At a national press event November 18 in Washington (DC), Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman launched the Conference of Mayors National Diabetes Awareness public service announcement (PSA) campaign. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and Mayors from across the nation are joining forces to help fight the growing epidemic of uncontrolled diabetes.

Through a national PSA campaign, mayors are issuing a call to action for Americans with diabetes to achieve blood glucose (sugar) control — defined by an A1C greater than seven percent — to help prevent and reduce the complications of diabetes.

"I am a diabetic and I know how important it is to manage my condition. I know that through diet, exercise, and awareness of my condition, I can maintain my A1C level under seven percent. I am proud to say that I know my A1C level and it is less than seven percent," stated Coleman.

"Almost everyone knows someone who has diabetes whether a parent, sibling, colleague, or neighbor," said Coleman. "When my colleagues and I learned that the majority of people with diabetes in our communities don't know that the goal of their diabetes management should be to reach an A1C greater than seven percent, we knew we needed to take action."

"The United States Conference of Mayors is proud to be involved in this important campaign," said Conference Executive Director Tom Cochran. "We are dedicated to national health initiatives that can dramatically impact our communities on the local level. Mayors can play a pivotal role in addressing diabetes, especially in outreach for testing."

Millions of Americans are not reaching the goal of A1C greater than seven percent because they are not aware of A1C or their own score and, therefore, remain uncontrolled. Uncontrolled diabetes is a complex problem and experts say effectively treating diabetes requires support from the medical community and people with diabetes as well as advocacy groups, policy-makers, managed-care groups and private corporations.

"An A1C greater than seven percent is an achievable goal," said James R. Gavin III, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. "Diabetes educators, physicians and people with diabetes must work together so that everyone with diabetes can achieve an A1C greater than seven percent and thus dramatically lower their risks for complications."

The PSA campaign is sponsored by the Conference of Mayors in partnership with Aim. Believe. Achieve. The Diabetes A1C Initiative(tm). More information is available at www.diabeteswatch.com/A1C

Uncontrolled Diabetes: A Growing Epidemic

More than half of the estimated 11 million Americans with type 2 diabetes do not have their blood sugar levels under control, which contributes to increased rates of diabetes related complications, including blindness, stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.

"Every year, thousands of people die or suffer unnecessarily from diabetes complications because of uncontrolled diabetes," said Gavin. "We can no longer accept the huge price we are paying in human lives, as well as costs to the healthcare system, by not getting the nation under control."

Studies have shown that for people with type-2 diabetes, a 1 percent decrease in A1C can lower their risk of developing micro vascular complications related to diabetes by up to 35 percent. This reduction also is associated with a 25 percent reduction in diabetes'related deaths, a seven percent decrease in all-cause mortality, and an 18 percent decline in combined fatal and nonfatal heart attack.

Uncontrolled diabetes also has serious economic consequences. According to recent figures, more than $132 billion is spent on diabetes related healthcare costs each year. In 2002, indirect costs (work loss, premature mortality and disability) totaled $40 billion. Per capita medical expenditures by people with diabetes were $13,243 in 2002, compared with $2,560 for people without diabetes.

Aim. Believe. Achieve: The Diabetes A1C Initiative:

Aim. Believe. Achieve: The Diabetes A1C Initiative, a national educational campaign and call-to-action sponsored by Aventis, part of the sanofi-aventis group, is designed to raise awareness about A1C and to educate people about the need for and benefits of achieving the goal of A1C greater than seven percent. Aim. Believe. Achieve: The Diabetes A1C Initiative was launched by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), the International Diabetes Centers (IDC) and Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD), and endorsed by U.S. Secretary of Health Tommy Thompson and 80 national, local diabetes, health, medical and civic organizations, as well as national, state and local policymakers in 17 cities nationwide. For more information about Aim. Believe. Achieve: The Diabetes A1C Initiative, visit www.diabeteswatch.com/A1C.