June 6, 2019
Findings from the 2016 National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) National Diabetes Survey (NNDS) suggest that there have been improvements in diabetes-related knowledge and behaviors among U.S. adults, but significant gaps remain. Diabetes distress and a lack of self-management support remain issues.
The 2016 survey included adults ≥35 years of age in the US. There were 2,517 respondents in 2016; completion rate was 46%. Survey results represent four groups of people: people with diabetes (PWD), people with prediabetes (PWP), people at risk of diabetes (PAR), and people at lower risk (All Others, or AO). Of the respondents with diabetes, 83% reported having type 2 diabetes, 10% reported having type 1 diabetes, and 7% were unsure of their type or refused to answer.
The Chair of the NDEP, Ms. Sue Kirkman, MD told Diabetes Voice, “The survey shows that we are making progress in terms of public and patient awareness of diabetes and its complications. However, many people with diabetes are not confident in their self-management skills, and report high levels of diabetes distress. We need to move beyond merely providing education, and incorporate strategies and systems that support people in their daily lives.”
Awareness of diabetes complications
The survey asked respondents to indicate which were the three most serious problems caused by diabetes. Respondents were most likely to select “death” (63%), “amputation, loss of foot or leg” (54%), and “blindness” (51%). Combining responses for “stroke” and “heart attack, heart condition, heart disease” into one category did not improve the relative ranking for CVD. The proportion of respondents selecting a CVD outcome did not increase significantly from 2014 to 2016 (73 and 75% of respondents, respectively). See Figure below.
Approximately 93% of 2016 NNDS respondents reported having health insurance that paid for all or part of their medical care. This rate had increased from 2014 (89%). Oddly, this figure doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the US prescription drug affordability crisis, especially the high cost of insulin (for the insured and uninsured), which many Americans face today.