It almost sounds like an old joke, “A nurse sends a message to her colleagues and says, ‘I have good news and bad news. Which one do you want first?’
I like to think I’m an optimist, so let’s start start with the good news: Cigarette smoking has reached the lowest level EVER recorded among U.S. adults! This great news was reported last month, citing new data and published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI).
An estimated 14 percent of U.S. adults (34 million) were current (“every day” or “some days”) cigarette smokers in 2017—down from 15.5 in 2016—a 67 percent decline since 1965! Even better, a particularly notable decline occurred among young adults between 2016 and 2017: about 10 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 years smoked cigarettes in 2017, down from 13 percent in 2016.
Compare this to 1965, when 42% of US adult smoked cigarettes daily.
This all-time low in cigarette smoking is good news for everyone & definitely something to celebrate!
Ok, so now for the bad news. As nurses, we know that prediabetes is a serious condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes and other significant health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. More than 34% of Americans have prediabetes, and about 30 million Americans currently have diabetes – with the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes more than tripling in the past 20 years. Despite the prevalence of prediabetes, nearly 90 percent of people with the condition do not know they have it!
Raising awareness and early diagnosis are critical to getting ahead of the diabetes epidemic. Research shows that people who are aware of their condition are more likely to make the necessary long-term lifestyle changes that can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
“Prediabetes can often be reversed, and type 2 diabetes prevented, by losing weight, eating healthier, and being more physically active,” says Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. People with prediabetes can work to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes when they know they have a problem. So, how can they find out if they have a problem? One way is to take the online quiz, “Do I Have Prediabetes?” developed by the American Diabetes Association.
Here’s the link:
The Overweight/Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic is in full swing with 68% of US adults either overweight or obese. Right now, the future looks pretty grim. But, to me, it seems comparable to the incidence of cigarette smoking 50 years ago. And, research informs us that nicotine is the most addictive drug on the planet.
Nurses, the nation’s most trusted profession, working to educate and encourage our patients, make a huge difference to the health of all Americans. We succeeded in promoting smoking cessation and can succeed in arresting the Overweight/Type 2 Diabetes Epidemic.
Take a step forward: I challenge you to share the link to the Prediabetes Quiz above with as many people as you can reach by email. It won’t take you more than a minute or two and will make a huge difference in people’s lives and our collective health.
Mahalo for All You Do!