November 21, 2019
Deidre McCabe, Director,
Office of Communications, 410-767-3536 or
Maureen Regan, Deputy
Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-8649
Maryland Department of
Health releases first statewide diabetes action plan with intervention
strategies to engage partners
Baltimore, MD – In conjunction with National
Diabetes Month, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today released its first
Diabetes Action Plan, which includes intervention strategies for health care
providers, stakeholders and individuals to help reduce the burden of diabetes
“Our administration remains committed to ensuring that all Marylanders have the
resources they need to lead healthy lives,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “This
innovative plan promotes greater coordination to enhance quality of life for
Marylanders living with diabetes and ultimately to decrease the prevalence of
this disease in our state.”
MDH officials announced
the plan during the day-long Diabetes
is Primary education conference for 200 physicians and health care professionals
organized by the Maryland Chapter of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) at
the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
"Nearly 45 percent of the adult population in Maryland
has diabetes or prediabetes, and this disease is the sixth leading cause of
death in our state,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “But
the good news is diabetes is generally preventable, and for those with the
disease, it can be managed. Our
vision is to engage partners across Maryland to coordinate efforts
and get the numbers trending downward."
Neall said the goal of the action plan is to
spur increased collaboration with partners throughout the state, employing
detailed strategies and educating the public about the disease. MDH will involve
local health departments and providers from both public and private sectors.
of Public Health Fran Phillips highlighted aspects of the 65-page plan, developed
from mid-June through mid-September by a 40-member work group. The plan
includes a resource guide, comprehensive data about risk factors and specific intervention
strategies. The draft plan was available for public comment from Oct. 7 to Nov.
“This plan is a
roadmap for both preventing and managing diabetes. It includes specifics for state
agencies, hospitals, physicians, schools, local governments, community-based
organizations and individuals. We won’t reverse the tide unless everyone
plays a role,” she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes. In Maryland, 10.5
percent of adults have diabetes (nearly 500,000) and 34 percent have
prediabetes (approximately 1.6 million). Maryland is consistently one of the 25
states with the highest diabetes prevalence rates.
Diabetes is a chronic disease occurring when a
person’s blood glucose level is too high due to the body’s inability to
properly absorb glucose. Prediabetes refers to the condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than
normal, but not high enough to be diabetes. Diabetes often leads to
other diseases and serious disabilities. About 95 percent of diabetes in the
United States is type 2, which is preventable. Being overweight or obese is the
most significant contributing factor in developing the disease.
In Maryland, diabetes disproportionately
impacts specific populations based on income and education level, race and
ethnicity, geographic location and access to healthcare. Other risk factors
include poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and tobacco use.
Mark Luckner, Executive Director of the state’s Community
Health Resources Commission, said the Commission will award grant funding to organizations
that serve vulnerable populations and address the social determinants impacting
fully supports implementation of Maryland’s Diabetes Action Plan,” Luckner said.
“Diabetes impacts far too many individuals and families in our state. We look
forward to bringing access to much-needed services and programming in
underserved and at-risk communities and addressing the health inequities that
are associated with diabetes.”
According to the American Diabetes
Association, medical expenses for diabetes and its complications in Maryland
exceed $4.9 billion a year, with another $2 billion in indirect costs from lost
“We are excited the Health Department chose our Diabetes
is Primary conference to launch the Diabetes Action Plan and look forward
to working collaboratively to help bend the curve of diabetes in Maryland in
the months and years ahead,” said David McShea, Executive
Director of ADA’s Maryland Chapter.
Reducing diabetes in the state will require a
multi-faceted strategy including:
Expanding nutrition and obesity prevention
programs in every community
Sharing data among health care
providers, program providers and state agencies
Supporting healthy eating in the workplace,
in schools and through health systems
Assessing the food supply chain to
address food pricing and access to healthy foods
Increasing opportunities for physical
activity for students and workers
Encouraging healthcare providers to
refer overweight children and adults to evidence-based weight loss programs and
Establishing referral mechanisms to
health care specialists for obese children and adults
partners to support state-of-the-art diabetes care including the use of telemedicine, case managers and community workers
To review MDH’s Diabetes Action Plan, go to health.maryland.gov/diabetes-action-plan.
The Maryland Department of Health is
dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders
through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community
engagement. Stay connected at http://www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and http://www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464