Diabetes diagnosis can improve health of the household

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Partners of people with newly diagnosed diabetes are more likely to change their health behaviors than partners of people without the disease. Among more than 180,000 couples in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health plan from 2007-2011, partners of patients with newly-diagnosed diabetes had higher rates of participation in weight management classes, use of medications to stop smoking, glucose screening, clinically meaningful weight loss, lipid screening, influenza vaccination, and blood pressure screening compared to partners of people without diabetes. Even when clinicians did not focus on family members' lifestyle, partners of people with newly diagnosed diabetes exhibited small but significantly higher levels of behavioral change than their counterparts in other households. According to the authors, a diabetes diagnosis may be a teachable moment for family members and an opportunity to reduce their risk of developing diabetes. The authors call for a new focus on health risk interventions not just for individuals but for families and social networks.

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Influence of a New Diabetes Diagnosis on the Health Behaviors of a Patient's Partner
Julie A. Schmittdiel, PhD, et al
Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California
http://www.annfammed.org/content/16/4/290

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