WASHINGTON, DC- March 2, 2011 – Women In Government has launched the Diabetes Health Challenge: Educate, Empower, Engage, a three year campaign to raise awareness of diabetes, and a new policy resource center to support the campaign.

Diabetes affects approximately 26 million children and adults in the United States. Additionally, 79 million U.S. adults have pre-diabetes, a condition that can increase a person’s risk of diabetes type 2, heart disease, and stroke. If the trend continues, one in three Americans could have diabetes by 2050.

Women In Government’s Diabetes Health Challenge campaign seeks to educate, empower, and engage legislators and the public about the impact of diabetes in their states and to collaborate with communities, advocacy groups, medical professionals, pharmaceutical and insurance industries, and policymakers, in the fight against diabetes. Working with various stakeholders, Women In Government will build and disseminate resources for legislators and policymakers, and mobilize women state legislators to adopt sound policies on diabetes in their states.

Representative Kim Rosen, Chair of the Board of Directors for Women In Government, says “It is important to have an active conversation about diabetes. It affects millions of people each year and as state legislators it is our responsibility to examine its impact on our constituents.”

Women In Government will host its Second Annual Diabetes Task Force in Naples, Florida, on March 4-6, 2011. This Task Force meeting will highlight holistic approaches to diabetes programs and policies; co-morbidities with related diseases such as obesity; and strategies to address disparities in underserved communities. The conference will provide legislators with a unique opportunity to focus on pressing issues with colleagues and experts from across the country.

Susan Crosby, President Emeritus of Women In Government, says “Throughout the United States, we lose $58 billion dollars per year as a result of less productivity related to diabetes. Our workers are staying home from sickness, or have become disabled from this disease. This greatly affects their families and many industries that rely on their workers to succeed in a challenging economy.”

The Diabetes Policy Resource Center, which launches on March 2, has been established to raise awareness, mobilize, and support state legislators in sponsoring diabetes-related initiatives in their states. The resource center will act as a clearinghouse of educational materials and policy resources aimed to address the gaps in the education, prevention, and management of diabetes and related diseases. The Diabetes Policy Resource Center and a legislative toolkit can be accessed at http://www.womeningovernment.org/diabetes.

Women In Government is a national, non-profit, bi-partisan organization leading the nation with a vision to empower and mobilize all women state legislators to effect sound policy. With over 20 years of experience working with state legislators, state agency representatives, and the public, Women In Government proudly hosts over 20 educational conferences annually to address the nation’s public policy issues. For more information visit: http://www.womeningovernment.org.