March 24, 2009 -- American adults say that getting a chronic disease would be worse than getting a divorce or losing a job, yet they knowingly engage in behavior that can lead to diabetes.
A new survey, commissioned by the American Diabetes Association and conducted by Harris Interactive, shows that 52% of people rank the possibility of developing a chronic disease as worse than a whole host of other potential problems, such as losing a job, getting a divorce, or accumulating sizable debt. The study also shows that most adults are aware of risky behaviors that can lead to diabetes, but many cling to those behaviors anyway.
Sixty-six percent of adults say avoiding doctor visits is risky, but 50% do it anyway. Similarly, 70% of adults say that maintaining an unhealthy weight is risky, yet 46% of people admit that they are doing so.
Of the people who report they are extremely or very likely to develop diabetes, 83% know that being overweight or obese is a risk factor. Yet within this group, 67% say they still follow a poor diet and 62% say they maintain an unhealthy weight.
“We know Americans view activities like bungee jumping as especially risky and so they avoid them,” Richard M. Bergenstal, president elect of medicine and science of the American Diabetes Association, says in a written statement. “However, these same people are gambling daily by ignoring risk factors for a life-altering disease like diabetes and doing nothing about it.”
The survey was conducted in February and March and included 2, 516 U.S. residents, all at least 18 years old.
The survey was funded by the WellPoint Foundation, a nonprofit wholly funded by WellPoint Inc.