"Eat Well, America!" Campaign Part of American Diabetes Month

ADA's theme for American Diabetes Month encourages healthier eating to promote better disease management and prevention.

Controlling weight is an essential part of preventing diabetes or managing the disease once diagnosed. That starts with a healthy diet, which is the foundation of this year’s theme of American Diabetes Month: Eat Well, America!

Kevin Hagan, CEO of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), said the goal of this year’s theme is to teach Americans that “healthy” and “flavor” can happen at the same time. “As the Association marks its 75th anniversary, we are even more committed to empowering Americans to achieve health and wellness every single day,” he said. “So let’s start making lasting healthy habits with a healthy lunch or a revamped holiday meal.”

Timing the theme ahead the holidays, when so many family meals take place, is designed to give Americans ideas on eating well without overeating, or eating poorly. A highlight of the month is November 17, 2015, which is set aside as National Healthy Lunch Day, set aside to offer tips for midday meals that offer fuel but not empty calories.

A section of the ADA website, http://www.diabetes.org/, has been set aside with healthy recipes for each meal of the day, plus snacks. Other tabs offer ideas for meal planning, shopping, cooking, and staying healthy while celebrating during the holidays. An ADA publication, Diabetes Forecast magazine, offers regular features on healthy living.

In 2012, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes in the United States, and a 2013 study published by ADA reported that the annual cost of the disease is $245 billion, including both medical spending and lost productivity. The vast majority of Americans have type 2 diabetes, which has been increasingly in recent decades and has been attributed to less healthy diets and more sedentary lifestyles.

About 9.3% of the US population has diabetes, although its prevalence is more heavily concentrated in Southern and Western states. The disease is linked to higher rates of poverty, cigarette smoking, and lower socioeconomic status. Factors such as lack of access to regular healthcare, fresh food, and a local supermarket are all linked to increased prevalence of diabetes.

Approximately 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease that has also been increasing.