Wake up call: Diabetes projected to account for tenth of all health care spending by 2020
The prevalent U.S. sedentary office worker/long commute and minimum exercise/high calorie diet lifestyle is beginning to take a major toll, according to a report released today by the UnitedHealth Group’s Center for Health Reform & Modernization. The alarming report, The United States of Diabetes: Challenges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead, projects more than 50 percent of Americans could have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020 at a cost of $3.35 trillion over the next decade if current trends continue.
All of that pre-diabetes and diabetes will account for an estimated 10 percent of total health care spending by 2020 at an annual cost of almost $500 billion – up from an estimated $194 billion this year, according to the report, which calls for lifestyle interventions to combat obesity and prevent prediabetes from becoming diabetes and medication control programs and lifestyle intervention strategies to help improve diabetes control.
It will have to go far beyond that. Lifestyle changes mean work/life changes so people can spend a lot more time exercising and less time commuting and sitting in cubicles — as well as getting sufficient sleep. This is the ultimate workplace wellness program. Simply doing a few stretches and yoga at lunch and trying the latest diet fad isn’t going to make a dent in this problem.