Holistic Approaches to Diabetes

Diabetes is a debilitating disease that affects more than 25 million Americans each year. Much of its complications can be largely prevented by good nutrition and physical activity. Yet, healthy lifestyle changes are only one component of diabetes management. People with diabetes also need access to education, treatment, and support that can help contain their blood glucose levels and improve their health and lifestyle. This requires a multi-faceted and coordinated approach to addressing diabetes prevention and treatment across states.

The fundamentals of state legislator initiatives can utilize and build on evidence based practices where partnerships flourish and succeed. A sound prevention model encourages relationships among individuals, organizations, and the community, while permeating effectively into policies in our local, state, and national systems. The 2011 Women In Government Task Force conference highlighted holistic approaches to diabetes care.

The following are presentations of holistic models of prevention and treatment programs that can lessen the burden of diabetes:

Susan Cooper, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of HealthCreating Holistic Approaches for Diabetes Programs and Policies: A Public Health Approach

Kenyatta Lee MD, Community Clinics Department, University of Florida - Patient Centered Medical Home Model: Solution to Diabetes Disparities

Holistic Approaches: Employer Based Programs

A holistic approach that addresses problems in health equity will lighten the economic burden of diabetes. The US loses $58 billion per year as a result of loss in productivity from diabetes. Diabetes-related conditions, such as limb amputations and blindness, incapacitate many individuals, who are then rendered disabled and unable to work. It is clear, that diabetes and its associated conditions, impact not only the individual and family members, but also the ability for individuals to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Benjamin Bluml, Vice President for Research, American Pharmacists Association Foundation - Lessons Learned from the Ten City Challenge