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84.1 million Americans have prediabetes—and a majority don’t know it.

Today is Diabetes Alert Day. On this day, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) aims to spread nation-wide awareness of the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to a recent report by the CDC, about a third of American adults had prediabetes in 2015, yet less than 12% were aware of their condition. Prediabetes, left untreated, can quickly lead to type 2 diabetes, making knowledge and awareness of the risk factors for diabetes crucial.  It’s also important to raise awareness of the effects of type 2 diabetes so Americans can improve their response to the disease. In addition to affecting blood sugar, diabetes can lead to serious dental health issues including periodontal disease, gingivitis, and a higher risk of cavities and other mouth infections.

Dental Health: A Pro Bono Effort To Improve Arlington County, Virginia

FMG learned first-hand about the risk factors and consequences of prediabetes. In 2018, FMG selected Arlington Free Clinic as FMG’s SERV partner. Our mission: Develop messaging materials that will increase diabetic patients’ use of preventative dental health services.

Through a series of in-depth interviews and surveys at the clinic, we identified gaps in diabetic patients’ knowledge and awareness of the increased health risks associated with poor oral health. As first steps to helping them better manage their diabetes and live healthier lives, we developed targeted messaging materials that have been used to facilitate communication with diabetic clinic patients about the importance of preventative dental care. In a three-month post-messaging follow-up study, survey data indicated that the messaging is working with an increase of completed follow-on appointments.

Impactful work, in the name of a better world.

FMG was founded on the principle of doing impactful work to improve the lives of others, and it’s through efforts like the SERV initiative, our founding membership in the National Opioid Action Coalition, and our B Corp Certification that we continue to grow our impact. At FMG, we remain committed to impactful work in the name of a better world, and we challenge other organizations to do the same.

Got 60 seconds? Join Fors Marsh Group in participating in the ADA’s Diabetes Alert Day by taking the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test. Know your own risk and help spread awareness to others.

About the author

Leah Alley

Leah Alley began her work with Fors Marsh Group as an intern in 2015. After she finished her master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, she continued her work with FMG as a Researcher. She works on a variety of projects with different elections and voting organizations, including the Federal Voting Assistance Program and the Election Assistance Commission, using research to inform training, marketing, and communication strategies. She is trained in a variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods, and has experience with data analysis, content coding, cognitive interviewing, survey development and administration, and training development and evaluation.

Leah received an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from George Mason University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia. While at the University of Virginia, she worked for the Social Cognition and Behavior Lab, assisting with research on the effects of diversity within university settings and within a larger social context of day-to-day interactions.

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