The number of Canadians living with diabetes continues to rise and the cost of that is a big concern for the Canadian Diabetes Association.
Touring Canada, chief scientist and researcher for the group, Doctor Jan Hux, argued we need to get a handle on this issue before it becomes too big of a strain on an already stretched health care system.
Hux maintained that cost can have an impact on businesses too.
“Prescription drug claims for somebody with diabetes are more than four times higher than for somebody without,” Hux said.
“They tend to have 15 per cent longer times on disability leave and their workplace productivity is also decreased because of the disease.”
It is estimated that eight per cent of Saskatchewan’s population is currently living with diabetes and that is expected to rise to 11 per cent within the next decade.
That associated cost runs in to the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The CDC believes prevention and social policy changes are the key to reducing the number of people living with the disease.
“We need individual decision-making and choices. And we need a clinical healthcare system that supports better choices,” Hux said.
Those choices include better access to healthy and nutritious food.
“We are surrounded by unhealthy food choices, we often live in neighbourhoods and environments that make it difficult to walk, many live in poverty and all of that adds to the challenge,” Hux said.