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With this series we will bring you the latest news in stigma and society. This week we cover the cost of obesity, diabetes guilt, and the new WHO Global Diabetes Compact.

For more news in diabetes advocacy and policy, check out our compiled news updates here

 

Obesity increases a person’s medical costs by almost $2,000

In a recent study of 180,000 Americans, researchers found that people with obesity paid about $1,900 more in medical costs than those without obesity. Researchers found that “even incremental increases in weight meant additional healthcare expenses.” On the other hand, researchers noted that modest weight loss could have both health and financial benefits. 

Why it matters: While the health implications of obesity are paramount, research on the financial burden of obesity is important in creating support programs to alleviate some of these costs. Corporate patient assistance and government programs can do better to alleviate the increased cost of obesity healthcare. All people with obesity, and those with diabetes, should be able to afford the care they need to stay healthy. 

 

Letting go of guilt when you have type 2 diabetes

This healthline article outlines the relationship between diabetes and guilt, and what you can do to address it. “Guilt can come from feeling like you did something to cause the disease or that you’re not doing enough to manage it.” This internal stigma can impact your mental and physical health and make diabetes management more difficult. 

Why it matters: Stigma and blame associated with type 2 diabetes can be internalized by individuals with the disease and lead to feelings of guilt. For example, some may experience medication stigma and feel guilt when relying on medications to manage their diabetes, in addition to lifestyle interventions. Destigmatizing diabetes, at an individual and societal level, is vital in easing these feelings of guilt and empowering people with diabetes. 

What you can do: Look here for more resources on diabetes stigma.

 

New WHO Global Compact launched to address the diabetes epidemic

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, the World Health Organization announced a new Global Diabetes Compact to prevent diabetes and improve diabetes treatment globally. The compact will be particularly focused on increasing access to insulin in low- and middle-income countries and including diabetes prevention and treatment in primary healthcare. In support of the Compact, Dr. Apoorva Gomber, a patient advocate with type 1 diabetes said “It is time to create momentum not just for living with diabetes, but thriving with it.”

Why it matters: As of 2014, an estimated 422 million had diabetes globally. Diabetes prevalence is growing faster in low- and middle-income countries. Addressing the growing diabetes epidemic is a global effort, and the WHO Diabetes Compact is a promising step forward for diabetes prevention and treatment worldwide.