Health Benefits

November Is National Diabetes Month

Group of female friends jogging together at park.

National Diabetes Month is observed every November so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans.

Help to raise awareness that while prediabetes is a serious health condition, it can be managed or even reversed. Follow these tips to manage your prediabetes:

  • Take small steps. Making changes to your lifestyle and daily habits can be hard, but you don’t have to change everything at once. Start small.
  • Move more. Limit time spent sitting and try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. Start slowly by breaking it up throughout the day.
  • Choose healthier foods and drinks most of the time. Pick foods that are high in fiber and low in fat and sugar. Build a plate that includes a balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. Drink water instead of sweetened drinks.
  • Lose weight, track it, and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5% to 7% of your starting weight.
  • Seek support from your doctor. People are more successful at managing their prediabetes if they have regular contact and support from trusted health care professionals.
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations. The COVID-19 and flu vaccines are important for people who may be more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 or the flu, such as people with diabetes.

Diabetes is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation. It also leads to more sick days and less productivity. According to the American Diabetes Association, for every 1,000 individuals:

  • 120 have diabetes
  • 34 of them are undiagnosed
  • 370 have prediabetes

The good news is, type 2 diabetes can be prevented, and it isn’t as hard as you might think. Losing just 7% of your body weight (which translates to 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) and exercising moderately (like brisk walking) five days a week can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%. Lifestyle changes also can prevent or delay diabetes complications. Studies show that keeping blood glucose, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels close to normal can help prevent or delay these problems.

CalPERS Diabetes Prevention Program

All CalPERS health plans offer a diabetes prevention program at no cost to eligible members. The CalPERS Diabetes Prevention Program is designed to slow and prevent type 2 diabetes among CalPERS members who have prediabetes—a condition in which a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough for the individual to be considered diabetic. To learn more about the program, contact your health plan.