World Diabetes Day

October 27, 2020

November 14 is World Diabetes Day. This year’s theme is Nurses Make a Difference. Employers can also make a difference.

Did You Know?

The prevalence of diabetes continues to grow around the world, impacting workforce health and well-being.

  • Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death, particularly in low-and-middle income countries.1
  • The number of people globally with diabetes continues to rise, and prevalence in adults has almost doubled.1
  • Diabetes is a leading cause of many serious health implications, such as blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and early death.1
  • Approximately 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes in 2016.1
  • Diabetes cost at least $727 billion in health expenditure in 2017.2
  • Smokers are 30%-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers.3

Diabetes and the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on people with diabetes in the following three ways:

  • 1 | Higher risk as a vulnerable population: Those with diabetes are more susceptible to severe COVID-19 complications if they become infected with the virus.
  • 2 | Chronic disease management: Potential for delays in routine diabetic care.
  • 3 | Preventive care: Potential for delay in diabetic screening preventive care.4

What Employers Can Do

There are steps employers can take to address all three areas:

Nutrition, healthy eating and physical activity are important for both prevention and disease management

  • Develop or review existing nutrition programs or communications to encourage healthy eating.
  • Encourage regular physical activity. Consider how to sustain this encouragement with the shift to working remotely and for those on-site.

Employers can play a pivotal role ensuring access

  • Offer virtual solutions, as they enable easier access to uninterrupted care. Telemedicine and specific virtual solutions for chronic disease and, specifically, diabetes management are examples of programs employers are communicating about and implementing,
  • Review company health plans. Ensure access to affordable insulin and other chronic disease medication. In the U.S., work with your pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) carriers to extend access and adherence accommodations (i.e., prior authorization [PA] extensions, lift “refill-too-soon” limits).

Raise awareness and promote good practices

  • Recommend that employees get routine screening and preventive care.
  • Promote tobacco cessation programs.

More Topics

Articles & Guides icon_right_chevron_dark COVID-19 icon_right_chevron_dark Physical Health icon_right_chevron_dark


  1. Did You Know?
  2. Diabetes and the Pandemic
  3. What Employers Can Do