Prediabetes can be reversed -- and the American Medical Association (AMA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ad Council want people to know it.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the chronic health conditions that poses a significant risk for complications to those who contract COVID-19. A recent study showed type 2 diabetes is one of the top comorbidities associated with COVID-19 severity and deaths. That's why the AMA, the CDC and the Ad Council have launched a series of new public service announcements (PSAs) taking a serious look at prediabetes -- a condition that if left unchecked often leads to type 2 diabetes.
As part of the "Do I Have Prediabetes?" campaign, the new "Change the Outcome" PSAs, created pro bono by creative agencies Grey New York and Wordsworth+Booth, raise awareness that prediabetes shouldn't be taken lightly -- and that it can be reversed. The "Change the Outcome" campaign includes a complementary suite of new print, radio, out-of-home and digital banner assets that compare the risk of prediabetes to much less likely events.
"Life sometimes grants us an opportunity to make small changes that can have profound effects on the trajectory of our health and our lives," said Christopher Holliday, PhD, MPH, director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Diabetes affects every part of the body and can lead to a cascade of negative health outcomes, significantly impacting a person's quality of life. A prediabetes diagnosis sounds the alarm, letting people know that they need to change course and take the opportunity to prevent this devastating disease before it's too late."
In the United States, some 88 million Americans -- more than 1 in 3 -- are living with prediabetes, and more than 84% don't even know they have it. Prediabetes can increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Research shows that once people are made aware of their condition, they are more likely to make the necessary long-term lifestyle changes -- such as eating healthier, managing weight and being active -- that can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
"Raising awareness of prediabetes and stressing the importance of people knowing their risk is critical, particularly now as the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies the negative health risks associated with chronic health conditions," said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. "Through our latest campaign, we aim to help more of the millions of Americans living with prediabetes find out whether they have the condition. Anyone who learns through the online test that they may be at risk for prediabetes should consult their physician right away to confirm a prediabetes diagnosis and learn how making lifestyle changes can help them keep type 2 diabetes at bay."
The new multiplatform communications campaign shows how prediabetes can be reversed through individual lifestyle changes and encourages audiences to visit DoIHavePrediabetes.org -- PodriaTenerPrediabetes.org in Spanish -- where they can take a one-minute risk test to determine if they are at risk for prediabetes. If someone receives a high-risk score, the campaign encourages them to speak with their doctor to first confirm a diagnosis of prediabetes, then enroll in the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program.
"In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this new phase of our type 2 diabetes awareness work takes a more serious tone than past efforts to emphasize the importance of an early prediabetes diagnosis," said Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council. "Our aim remains the same as we equip people with the tools to both find out where they stand and take steps towards a healthier lifestyle."
The campaign website also features lifestyle tips and links to the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program, which connects visitors to a registry of more than 1,700 in-person and online CDC-recognized programs across the country. Consistent with the Ad Council's model, all media will run entirely in donated time and space.
"It's very rewarding to be involved in a campaign like this," said Tim Jones, CCO of Pharma at Grey New York. "The need to remind people that they have the power to change the outcome of their prediabetes is crucial. We hope that this work connects with the right people to bring about this change in a meaningful and sustained way."
"In life, we don't often get the chance to change outcomes, but with prediabetes you can," said Tony Mennuto, president, Wordsworth+Booth. "Our audio campaign zeros in on that important and positive distinction."
The AMA and the CDC are working with their local offices, affiliates and partners to promote and activate the campaign in their communities, with evidence-based materials to aid physicians and other health care providers in the screening, diagnosis and treatment process. Since the award-winning campaign launched in January 2016, 3.7 million people have learned their risk for prediabetes through the online risk assessment and risk test videos.
 Diabetes Care: COVID-19 Severity Is Tripled in the Diabetes Community: A Prospective Analysis of the Pandemic's Impact in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2337/dc20-2260
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