Tennessee Observes American Diabetes Month

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Governor Phil Bredesen has signed a resolution proclaiming November as American Diabetes Month in Tennessee, as our state joins others across the country in this national health observance. As part of this annual event, the Department of Health is working to increase awareness of diabetes, which has reached epidemic proportions in Tennessee and throughout the United States.

Diabetes currently affects nearly 21 million children, adolescents and adults in the United States. In Tennessee, diabetes is a leading health problem with an estimated 542,000 adult residents 18 years and older currently living with the disease. Tennessee's diabetes prevalence rate of 9.1 percent exceeds the national rate of 7.3 percent of the population. The percentage of Tennessee adults with diabetes almost doubled between 1996 and 2005, from 5.0 percent to 9.1 percent.

"Because we know diabetes is a serious health threat to Tennesseans, we're addressing the issue with state initiatives like Project Diabetes and Get Fit Tennessee that are specifically designed to combat this problem," said Governor Phil Bredesen. "I urge all Tennesseans to learn more about the steps they can take to protect their health, prevent diabetes and reverse this statistical trend."

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Project Diabetes is an innovative public health initiative launched by Governor Bredesen to help reduce the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in Tennessee. Earlier this year, the first series of Project Diabetes planning grants were issued to fund a variety of innovative education, treatment and prevention initiatives designed to reduce the burden of diabetes in Tennessee. Along with Project Diabetes, Governor Bredesen developed the GetFitTN campaign to address the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes in Tennessee and the risk factors that lead to the disease, such as obesity.

While the prevalence of diabetes in Tennessee remains high, citizens of the Volunteer State recently earned accolades for management of the disease. According to the October Monthly Mortality Review published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tennesseans diagnosed with diabetes lead the nation in monitoring their blood glucose. Monitoring blood glucose is one of the key treatment components for successful management of diabetes.

"It is encouraging to see this report, which indicates that Tennesseans are taking charge of their own health," said Health Commissioner Susan R. Cooper, MSN, RN. "This is just one step our citizens can take to combat the problem of diabetes our state. Other simple lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthful diet and getting daily exercise, can dramatically improve our state's
statistics on diabetes."

The Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Center for Diabetes and Prevention and Health Improvement have combined efforts to reduce the rate of Type 2 diabetes and its complications through the development of innovative, evidence-based programs focused on preventing and treating pre-diabetes and diabetes. Funds for these programs are awarded by the Governor's Office and the C.D.C. to qualified health care entities.

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