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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
November 19, 2008

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
S. Patricia Cabrera
(609) 984-7160

November Marks National Diabetes Month


In recognition of National Diabetes Month, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard today urged New Jersey residents to learn the facts about the nation’s growing diabetes epidemic, and to make lifestyle changes that can help people avoid or better control this life-threatening disease.

People with diabetes also should make sure they get their annual flu shot  ( and talk to their healthcare provider about getting the pneumococcal vaccine.  The “pneumonia” shot protects against pneumonia, blood stream infections and meningitis that are much more deadly for people with diabetes.

“Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health problems we face, and is a particular threat for minority populations,’’ said Commissioner Howard. “Many people don’t appreciate the dangers posed by diabetes.  It can lead to blindness, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease and lower-limb amputations.”

However, people with diabetes can lower their risk of complications and improve their health by controlling blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. People with diabetes, and those who may be at risk, should maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and get regular checkups.

Overall, it is estimated that more than 660,000 people in New Jersey have been told by a healthcare provider they have diabetes.  Another 189,000 people are believed to have the condition but remain undiagnosed.

Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely to develop diabetes than are whites, and Black and Hispanic mortality rates are rising, too.  Latinos develop diabetes at a younger age, making them more likely to suffer long-term disease complications.

American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are also significantly more likely than whites to develop diabetes.

According to data from the federal government, the American Diabetes Association, and the Lewin Group consultants:

·         Diabetes remains the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

·         The risk of diabetes increases with age. About 21 percent of Americans age 60 and older have diabetes, compared with 10 percent of those aged 40-59 and two percent of 20- to 39-year-olds.

·         The U.S. spends about $174 billion a year on diabetes – including both direct medical costs and indirect costs due to missed work days or other losses in productivity. That total rises to $218 billion when people with undiagnosed diabetes, those with pre-diabetes and women who develop diabetes temporarily during pregnancy are included.

Earlier this year, the DHSS, the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey and the Health Care Institute of New Jersey sponsored a Latino Diabetes Summit.  The program focused on improving quality of care, reducing disparities in access to care, and helping patients participate in their own care.

“Type 2 diabetes is robbing many Latinos of their health and quality of life.  The first state Latino Summit on Diabetes raised awareness of the need to take preventive, culturally sensitive actions to reverse this trend,” added Commissioner Howard. 

Throughout November, DHSS and its partners are promoting activities in conjunction with National Diabetes Month. Health fairs are being held around the state to offer eye exams, foot exams, and cholesterol and blood pressure checks.

Upcoming activities include the following:

Nanticoke Lenne Lenape Indians

Saturday, November 22, 1– 3pm

Location: 75 Westcott Station Rd. Fairton, NJ 08320

Event: Health Fair: Striving for a Healthy Community



Center for Human Services

Tuesday, November 25, 10- 5 pm

22 Washington Street, Bridgeton New Jersey 08302

Event: Diabetes Day Fair - Para una vida sana para ti y tu familia-For a Healthy Life for you and your Family. 



Catholic Charities and CamCare/ Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies

Tuesday, December 16, 9-Noon

1845 Haddon Ave. Camden NJ


Comprehensive information about diabetes and its health impact can be found on the web site of the Department’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program:

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