News Release

2 diabetes studies in January 2014 Health Affairs

January articles examine the toll of diabetes, both in the US and abroad

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Health Affairs

Poorer Americans: depleted food budgets can mean higher risk of hypoglycemia.

For generations, economists have noted that low-income households spend much of their earnings as soon as their paychecks arrive. Since a large proportion of Americans are paid at the beginning of the month, many low-income households exhaust food budgets by month's end.

Hilary K. Seligman of the University of California, San Francisco, and coauthors, postulated that this could influence health outcomes, such as heightened risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) among people with diabetes.

The authors examined administrative data on inpatient admissions in California for 2000-08 and found that among low-income Californians, risk for hypoglycemia admission increased 27 percent in the last week of a month compared to the first week of the month; no similar temporal pattern existed for the high-income population. The authors conclude that exhausted food budgets late in the month might also influence admission patterns for other diet-sensitive diseases, such as congestive heart failure. This is one of the first studies (perhaps the very first) to study the link between exhausted food budgets and disease increase at the end of the month.

Diabetes and the workforce: in sixteen countries, the disease causes earlier retirement.

The economic burden of diabetes and the effects of the disease on the labor force are of substantial importance to policy makers.

Juliet Rumball-Smith of the University of Toronto, and coauthors, examined the impact of diabetes on leaving the workforce using data about people fifty and older from sixteen countries between 2002 and 2007. (The countries surveyed: the US, England, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.) Across the sixteen countries, workers diagnosed with diabetes had a 30 percent increase in the rate of labor-force exit, compared to those without the disease. The authors concluded that these finding further support the value of greater public- and private- sector investment in preventing and managing diabetes.



Health Affairs is the leading journal at the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Published by Project HOPE, the peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print and online. Additional Web First papers are published periodically (free full text available to all web site visitors for one week following posting). Health Policy Briefs are also published periodically (always free full text). Read daily perspectives on Health Affairs Blog. Download monthly Narrative Matters podcasts on iTunes. You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter, and you can tap into Health Affairs content with its iPad app.

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