One in three hospitalized Californians over age 34 has diabetes, study says

BY Daniela Hernandez, Kaiser Health News  May 16, 2014 at 4:07 PM EST

In California, roughly one in three hospitalized people over 34 years old has diabetes, increasing the complexity and cost of their care, according to a report released Thursday.

Hospitalizations for patients with diabetes on average cost about $2,200 more than for patients who didn’t have the disease, regardless of the reason they were admitted, according to the report by the partly genetic, or type 2, which is associated with obesity and an inactive lifestyle and affects minority groups disproportionately. The authors argue that because almost all adults diagnosed with diabetes have type 2, creating programs and communities that promote healthful eating and regular exercise, combined with improved access to primary care, could help lower costs associated with the disease.

These kinds of interventions have been proposed in the past. Some initiatives, such as printing calorie information at restaurants, promoting the use of food stamps at farmers markets and limiting the number of fast food outlets in communities with limited access to fresh foods, have shown only moderate influence on improving eating habits and helping people to lose weight.

A bill is pending in the California legislature to put warning labels on sugary drinks, much like those on tobacco and alcohol products. High intake of liquid sugar, Goldstein says, has been shown to increase cholesterol levels and fatty liver disease, which can lead to diabetes.

“We need to use what we know has worked for other harmful products and apply that to sugary drinks,” Goldstein said.