Press Release

Diabetes Educators Directed to Proactively Address Obesity As Precursor to Type 2 Diabetes

For Release: August 30, 2010

David Harrison at 410.242.4446,
Diana Pihos at 312.601.4864,

CHICAGO – The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) today issued a formal position statement and set of recommendations urging diabetes educators to proactively address obesity as a means of preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, managing complications for those who already have the disease, and creating a savings for the overall health care system.

“Obesity and type 2 diabetes are linked in several ways,” said AADE President Deborah Fillman, MS, RD, LD, CDE. “Obesity is involved in the pathologic process that culminates in the development of type 2 diabetes as well as a serious risk factor for the cardiovascular disorders that frequently affect persons with diabetes.”

And, obesity is a growing health problem for adults and children.  In 2010, the prevalence of obesity was estimated to be 35% in white males, 36% in white females, 33% in black males, and 55% in black females; in 2010 there were 9.3 million more obese adults 20 to 74 years of age than there were in 2000. A 2008 study reported the prevalence of obesity in children from 2-5 years was 10.4%, from 6-11, 19.6%, and from 12-19, 18.1%.

Studies have shown that obesity presents a significant cost to the health care system, much of which is born by the public sector, according to the AADE statement.

The guidelines issued by the AADE state that it is important for the diabetes educator to address obesity as a co-morbidity to diabetes and identify key strategies for educators to adopt:

  1. Educating patients to achieve and maintain a healthy weight should be a priority for all diabetes programs. Diabetes educators address obesity as primary prevention in diabetes and secondary prevention in diabetes self-management because obesity is associated with an increased risk for chronic disorders in addition to diabetes, especially cardiovascular disease.
  2. At both the individual and the community level, diabetes educators should play an important role by teaching the following strategies for obesity prevention and control of obesity:
  • Promote the availability of affordable, healthy food and beverages
  • Support healthy food and beverage choices
  • Encourage physical activity or limit sedentary activity among people of all ages
  • Create safe communities that support physical activity
  • Encourage communities to organize for change.
  • Work with health insurers and third party payors to recognize the link between obesity and other chronic illnesses, and the need for lifestyle interventions.
  • Advocate for diabetes educators to be reimbursed for self-management education and training of people with obesity at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

“As with so many elements of the preventive aspect diabetes education, we are promoting relatively easy steps now to avoid more difficult circumstances in the future,” said AADE Chief Science and Practice Officer Karen Fitzner, PhD. “First and foremost, it is easier and more effective to manage diabetes by not getting it. If a person does have type 2 diabetes, many of the complications and threats to overall health can be avoided by proactively addressing related health issues such as obesity.” 

Read the AADE position statement

About the AADE:
Founded in 1973, AADE is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through education.  With more than 12,000 professional members including physicians, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and others, AADE has a vast network of practitioners involved in the daily treatment of diabetes patients.  Collectively, our alliances, member practitioner networks, and academic partners uniquely position AADE at the locus of change for the future treatment of diabetes.  To learn more go to: