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Survey: Food regs among ways to deter diabetes


The New York City health commissioner’s ban on the sale of big cups of fountain soda drew many an unfavorable accusation that the administration of mayor Michael Bloomberg was trying to turn the city into a nanny state, with editor Mike Adams asking, “What’s next? Is Bloomberg gonna pull a Singapore and ban chewing gum too?”

But despite public criticism of the law, it appears popular among physicians as one of many ways to combat the rapid rise of diabetes in the United States, according to a survey presented last month at Joslin’s Diabetes Innovation 2012 conference. 

The survey, conducted by Joslin Diabetes Center and healthcare research firm WorldOne, included more than 150 endocrinologists and primary care physicians. The survey found that 76% of physicians supported federal government regulation of foods containing unhealthy ingredients, while 71% supported the New York ban. 

“These results are very important to us and our mission,” Joslin executive director of diabetes innovation and global professional education Julie Brown said. “With Diabetes Innovation 2012, it’s vital that all stakeholders are aligned, and we understand beliefs and concerns that may derail progress toward a more effective system. If stakeholder groups’ concerns are not understood or ignored, we won’t realize the true cooperation we need to make any sustained, valuable improvement.”

The survey found that 97% said individual health counseling has a powerful effect on the health of people with diabetes. Eighty-seven percent said more pharmaceutical options for the disease are needed, while 62% said such devices as insulin pumps, monitors and implants, as well as drug therapies, are most likely to have the greatest near-term benefit to patients.

At the same time, there were significant differences between the responses of physicians and delegates to the conference. While 55% of delegates said pharmacists should be able to serve as primary care providers for people with diabetes, 15% of the 150 physicians said the same. Meanwhile, 70% of physicians said pharmaceutically assisted innovations are necessary for obesity management, compared with 45% of delegates. Seventeen percent of physicians said future screening would have a positive effect on clinical outcomes; 9% of delegates said the same.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, mostly Type 2, which results from unhealthy diets. In addition, 79 million people have prediabetes, a condition in which patients are at high risk of developing the disease.

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