Hundreds of Diabetes Advocates Come to Washington to Urge Increased Federal Funding for Diabetes Research and Prevention

Advocates will also urge Congress to extend Special Diabetes Programs and protect people with diabetes from discrimination.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 200 volunteer advocates from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) will meet with their members of Congress this week, and urge them to support increased federal funding for diabetes prevention and research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The advocates will also urge Congress to pass legislation to protect people with diabetes from discrimination and to re-authorize Special Diabetes programs. Advocates from all around the country are coming to Washington for the ADA's biennial Call to Congress event, as it is the Association's premier advocacy effort. This year's Call to Congress is being held April 30 - May 2.

Attendees are children and adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, family members of individuals with diabetes, researchers, legal advocates and health care professionals. Among the attendees are John Griffin, a trial lawyer from Victoria, Texas with type 2 diabetes. Griffin is a member of the ADA's National Board of Directors. He devotes countless hours to individuals with discrimination issues as well as developing policies and laws to prevent discrimination. Also in attendance will be Tesch West, a high-school junior with type 1 diabetes from Salt-Lake City, Utah. West is the ADA's National Youth Advocate and in addition to focusing on her academics and managing her diabetes, she makes time to represent the many needs of children, adolescents and young adults living with diabetes.

"Our advocates come from different backgrounds and they each have a personal experience with diabetes, but there is one common thread, we are all committed to preventing and curing this disease and to improving the lives of all people affected by diabetes," said Stewart Perry, Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association.

"We need Congress and the Administration to join us in the fight against this disease and to realize that the future of millions of people with diabetes, and those who may develop diabetes, lies in their hands - they can begin the fight by significantly increasing the budget for diabetes prevention at CDC and diabetes research at NIH."

Specifically, ADA advocates are urging Congress to increase the budget at the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation by $20.8 million (a 33 percent increase) or one dollar for every American with diabetes and increase the budget for diabetes research at NIH by 6.6%, an increase of $112.6 million. However, despite the growing diabetes epidemic, the Bush Administration's FY 2009 budget has again proposed to cut funding for diabetes research and prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Today, nearly 21 million children and adults in the United States - or 7 percent of the population - have diabetes. Approximately one third of those are not aware that they have the disease. Each day, approximately 4,110 people are diagnosed with diabetes. In 2005, 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people 20 years or older. If current trends continue, one in three Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Diabetes is the fifth-deadliest disease in the United States. Since 1987, the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45 percent, while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined. And according to a study commissioned by the ADA, annually, the cost of diabetes has reached $174 billion.

From April 28 - May 2, the ADA is also providing a toll-free number so volunteers and others who are affected by diabetes may call their Members of Congress from their hometowns. More information is available at www.diabetes.org/calltocongress.

The ADA is the nation's leading voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association's advocacy efforts include helping to combat discrimination against people with diabetes; advocating for the increase of federal diabetes research and programs; and improved access to, and quality of, healthcare for people with diabetes. The ADA's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association provides service to hundreds of communities across the country. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

SOURCE American Diabetes Association

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