BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Diabetes is on track to become the greatest public health crisis of the next quarter century and beyond. In fact, as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050 unless something is done to curb unhealthy lifestyle trends in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last week. It is estimated that Americans spent $174 billion in 2007 to treat diabetes. The report predicts that the number of new diabetes cases each year will increase from eight per 1,000 people in 2008 to 15 per 1,000 people in 2050.
To combat the threat, the American Diabetes Association (ADA), northern New Jersey office, in tandem with Saint Peter’s Healthcare System in New Brunswick, N.J., announced today they have formed an alliance to address the urgent need among the public for management and education related to the care and prevention of diabetes.
Dubbed "Diabetes360Five," the year-round initiative is designed to aid people who live in the region through programs and community events delivered directly to those who need care and diabetes education. It signals a commitment on the part of ADA and Saint Peter's Healthcare System to deliver the highest quality of diabetes care and education in the central New Jersey region.
"It is estimated that nearly 800,000 New Jersey residents are affected by diabetes and one-quarter of those people have no idea that they have this very serious disease," said Pam Cooper, director of Community and Youth Initiatives for the ADA's northern New Jersey office. "It is imperative that those at risk take charge of their health and make changes that will result in a healthier future."
Saint Peter's Healthcare System has long been at the forefront in the provision of inpatient, outpatient and community based diabetes care. "Diabetes self-management education is the hallmark of care at the Saint Peter's Diabetes Care and Control Center," said Dr. Meena Murthy, an endocrinologist and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Nutrition and Metabolism at Saint Peter's University Hospital, a member of the Saint Peter's Healthcare System. "Our skilled professional staff includes board-certified endocrinologists, certified diabetes educators, licensed clinical social workers, and registered dietitians."
A familiar site in the region, Saint Peter's 35-foot-long Community Mobile Health Unit provides more than 2,000 blood sugar screenings each year to the medically underserved in partnership with more than 100 local nonprofit agencies, houses of worship, schools, businesses and municipalities.
"By teaming up with the ADA in this new and unique venture," Dr. Murthy continued, "Saint Peter's will be able to provide an even greater array of services to a greater number of patients – services including diagnosis, education, medication, including the insulin pump, nutrition counseling, diagnostic continuous monitoring, exercise counseling, and psychological counseling."
A calendar of the partnership's community outreach activities has been established. Diabetes360Five activities can be found by visiting www.diabetes.org/in-my-community. Some key upcoming events are listed below:
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