Newsroom > DHHS News Release

November 21, 2012
Bill Wiley, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-6585,
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Knowing Risk Factors Key to Controlling Diabetes
Lincoln – More than 115,000 Nebraska children and adults have diabetes, and an additional 42,000 are undiagnosed, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.  Also, an estimated 450,000 Nebraskans have pre-diabetes, greatly increasing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder when the pancreas doesn’t produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert glucose into energy. Diabetes can lead to serious medical complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, amputation and blindness.  The disorder is the 7th leading cause of death in Nebraska.
“Knowing your risk factors can help determine if you could have diabetes or pre-diabetes,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer and the Director of the Division of Public Health.  “Being overweight, not eating right, not getting enough physical activity, or having high blood pressure or high cholesterol are all risk factors.  Fortunately, proper nutrition and exercise are things you can do to defend against diabetes and other health problems.” 
The DHHS Diabetes and Prevention Program developed a simple risk test that’s free, takes less than a minute and serves as a “wake-up call” to people unaware that may already have diabetes or pre-diabetes.  The risk test and other information about type 2 diabetes are available at
The U.S. medical cost of diabetes was $116 billion in 2007.  In Nebraska, the medical and indirect costs of diabetes were over $1 billion in 2007, including $672 million for direct costs and $336 million for indirect costs (direct costs include hospital stays, medication, supplies, and doctors’ visits, and indirect costs include increased absenteeism, reduced productivity while at work, and unemployment from disease-related disability).
The prevalence of pre-diabetes and diabetes is now at an all-time high.  Approximately one out of four Nebraskans is obese, and with the holidays coming up, it’s important to remember that eating moderately is one of the things you can do to defend against diabetes and other health issues.
Also, because people with diabetes are more at risk for severe complications, it’s important that they have their seasonal flu vaccination. 
For more information about diabetes and preventing the disease, visit and