And with type 2 diabetes on the increase among U.S. adults, that number looks likely to rise. The Cost of Diabetes in the U.S.: Economic and Well-Being Impact, a new report by Gallup researchers and health and wellness engagement firm Sharecare, finds that diabetes has increased from 10.6 percent of U.S. adults in 2008 to 11.5 percent in the first nine months of 2017.
The Society for Human Resource Management points out in a report that lifestyle management programs can help people who have, or who are at risk of developing, type 2 diabetes—and that can help employers in curtailing the cost of the disease.
Among full-time workers, the Gallup report finds, the prevalence of diabetes is 6.3 percent, resulting in an extra 5.5 days of missed work per person per year and a total cost to employers of $16 billion. Among part-timers, the prevalence is even higher, at 9.1 percent, and they missed nearly as many days—4.3—as full-timers Those absences cost employers another $4.4 billion.
Obesity, it adds, is a leading risk factor for developing the disease. In addition, people who have it have much higher rates of other chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack and depression. They’re also less likely to get regular exercise or engage in other healthy behaviors.
“While most clinicians agree that managing diabetes improves health and reduces medical costs, the benefit to employers also extends to a more productive workforce,” Sheila Holcomb, Sharecare vice president, says in the report. Holcomb adds, “An opportunity exists for employers to partner with the medical community, specifically certified diabetes educators at local and regional hospitals, to offer diabetes education and training to their employees.”
Helping employees to keep their blood glucose within an appropriate range can have “tangible and proven value for both the individual and the company's bottom line,” she says in the report.
Personal finance website WalletHub has produced a Diabetes Facts & Statistics infographic, drawing on data from the American Diabetes Association, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others to provide a snapshot of statistics on the disease, the report adds.
Some of its more notable statistics include the fact that 90 percent of Americans with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, and that there is a 26 percent decrease in the risk of diabetes among those who get 2.5 hours of exercise each week.