FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES OUTREACH TO NEW MOTHERS TO FIGHT GESTATIONAL DIABETES
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, February 26, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Today, there's no question that New Yorkers are living healthier lives: For the first time since World War II, our life expectancy exceeds the national average, hundreds of thousands of city residents have recently quit smoking, and more than a million New Yorkers have enrolled in public health insurance programs over the past five years. Despite this progress, there remains one health problem in our city that is growing worse: Diabetes.
"Diabetes is a relentless disease that can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, or amputation. More than half a million New Yorkers have been diagnosed with diabetes and about another quarter of a million are living with the disease and don't even know it. For these New Yorkers, getting treatment is vital.
"That's why, this past week, we joined with community leaders to launch an unprecedented outreach effort to assist women who develop diabetes during pregnancy - a condition known as gestational diabetes, which affects more than 4,000 mothers each year. Left untreated, the condition can result in a number of complications for babies, and for their mothers, who are at greater risk for full-fledged diabetes later in life.
"Beginning next month, the City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will start sending out letters to every mother who develops gestational diabetes. These letters will arrive with informational packets that provide health, nutrition, and exercise tips.
"Following these tips can make a huge difference. For instance, mothers with gestational diabetes can cut their risk of full-fledged diabetes in half with only a moderate increase in physical activity and some modest weight loss. And in many neighborhoods that have a high-percentage of at-risk women, our packets will include specific details about local fitness programs, so that women will know exactly where they can go for exercise. In the coming months, we'll also send more than 30,000 letters to healthcare providers, reminding them to discuss the risks of gestational diabetes with their pregnant patients.
"Although the exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, we do know of a number of influencing factors, including obesity, pregnancy at a later age, and race. South Asian women are at the greatest risk of developing gestational diabetes, and so our letters will be mailed in Urdu - for our growing Indian population - as well as Chinese and Spanish.
"This informational campaign represents the largest effort ever conducted by a city to control gestational diabetes. But we're not stopping there: We're also working with local doctors to establish the nation's first-ever City-based diabetes registry, so that New Yorkers with high blood-sugar can get the care they need. As I announced last month in the State of the City, our goal is to reduce the number of New Yorkers at the highest risk for diabetes complications by 20% by the end of 2008. By working together, I am confident that we can reach this goal and help New Yorkers live longer and healthier lives.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958