Type 2 Diabetes Patients Mistakenly View Weight Loss As A Matter Of Willpower

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Findings announced today from a survey of San Diego residents with type 2 diabetes showed that 73 percent of respondents viewed weight loss as solely a matter of willpower, when in fact a number of other factors, including some commonly used diabetes medications, play a role. The survey also found that seventy-one percent of San Diego residents had completed a diabetes education program compared to only half of respondents in a national survey. Despite this education, only half of those surveyed in San Diego recognized that there is a connection between diabetes medications and weight gain, compared to almost two-thirds of respondents nationally.

The survey results suggest that patients may not understand how weight management affects their ability to control their diabetes. Excess weight often contributes to the development of diabetes. For people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss is often difficult to achieve because commonly used therapies to control blood sugar lead to weight gain.

The survey, conducted by Yankelovich, was commissioned by Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD), a not-for-profit 501(c)3 diabetes education organization that offers programs to inform, motivate and empower participants to take control of their diabetes.

"These research results reflect the complexity of this disease, the unmet needs left by many of the therapies being used to treat diabetes, and the unequivocal need for patient education on diabetes management," said Dr. Steven Edelman, physician, author and founder of Taking Control of Your Diabetes. "These discrepancies in patient understanding of the link between diabetes and obesity are one of the reasons why TCOYD is committed to providing information and resources to San Diego residents through our programs like the upcoming conference at the San Diego Convention Center on November 22."

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The survey results underscore the importance of local programs such as the TCOYD patient conferences in fueling San Diego's advances in diabetes education and support. This need for education becomes increasingly important as the rates of diabetes and obesity steadily increase. Almost 2 million Californians were diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, and more than 113,000 residents are living with diabetes right here in San Diego. According to the California Diabetes Prevalence Report, nearly 1.5 million San Diego residents are either overweight or obese, a major issue as diabetes and obesity are inextricably linked metabolic diseases.

Additional survey data included:

-- Seventy-one percent of respondents reported being instructed by their physicians to lose weight, although many seemed unclear on the factors that contribute to weight loss.

-- More than 60 percent of San Diego residents with type 2 diabetes lacked confidence in their ability to lose weight in the future.

-- More than one-third (36 percent) have not altered their San Diego lifestyle since their diagnosis.

-- To control their weight, San Diego residents focus more on regular healthy eating than on regular exercise.

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