How Community Health Workers Impact Diabetes Care

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Andrew Briskin

Andrew Briskin joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2021 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Health and Societies. Briskin is an Editor for diaTribe Learn.

Two major factors that lead to poor outcomes for people with diabetes are food insecurity and a lack of social support. Community health workers can address these issues, connecting people with diabetes to the resources they need.

Community health workers (CHWs) play a crucial role in addressing public health, particularly in communities with lower socioeconomic status and higher rates of chronic diseases, such as heart disease or diabetes. Two of the most significant social determinants of health impacting these communities – food insecurity and social support – can have a profound effect on the ability of people with diabetes to manage their condition. CHWs can play a direct role in addressing these factors by connecting people with resources to access healthy foods, helping them advocate for themselves, providing nutrition education, and connecting with and supporting individuals on a personal and community-wide level.

CHWs are typically members of the communities they serve, who are sometimes in a paid position and other times work as volunteers. Because of how important it is for CHWs to identify and communicate with the people in their community, they typically share the same background, ethnicity, and language. CHWs work in many locations throughout the community, which can include health clinics, government facilities, churches, food banks, other community centers/events, or traveling throughout the area.

Food insecurity is an economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food, according to the US Department of Agriculture. People who deal with food insecurity are often only able to afford low-quality foods that lack nutritional value, have access to only a limited food variety, or have disrupted eating patterns (where you aren’t able to eat multiple balanced meals each day). For people with diabetes, these eating habits can be especially harmful when trying to manage things like weight and blood sugar.

Food insecurity, which is a growing problem throughout the United States, has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates for 2020 indicate that over 50 million people (or one in every six people) dealt with food insecurity in the United States, an increase of 4.1% since 2018. Rates of food insecurity among people with diabetes are also higher than the national average, with estimates suggesting that one in five people with diabetes face food insecurity during any given year, even without the COVID-19 pandemic adding additional stress.

At the ADCES 2021 conference last month, Dr. Anjulyn Ballard, a research and evaluation fellow at the CDC involved in advancing work of CHWs, said, “By CHWs addressing food insecurity and social support, health disparities can decrease significantly within communities.”

Dr. Betsy Rodriguez, senior public health advisor at the CDC Division of Diabetes who trains CHWs, focusing on reaching ethnic minorities and bilingual health communities, joined Dr. Ballard in the presentation. She said of CHWs, “Their advocacy can impact many healthcare-related issues such as improving health while lowering healthcare costs, improving access to primary care, and increasing screening for major conditions such as diabetes, just to name a few.”

Together, they outlined a few of the ways CHWs play an important role in addressing food insecurity and social support in the populations they serve. These roles include:

  • Advocating for individuals and communities. This involves connecting people with helpful resources while also encouraging people to advocate on their own behalf.
  • Conducting outreach. It’s important for CHWs to establish trust through regular communication with individuals in the community.
  • Coordinating access to healthcare. This includes making referrals to healthcare providers, ensuring that people make it to their appointments, and serving as a liaison between the clinics and the individuals assuring as many people as possible get the care they need.
  • Providing coaching and general social support. CHWs should be able to inform people on where to find community forums or others in the community that can provide social support.
  • Providing culturally appropriate health education. This means helping people understand the guidance they receive from their healthcare provider (for example if there are language or education barriers) and providing advice that considers the food, language, and traditions of the specific community they serve.
  • Addressing financial hardship and environmental needs. This involves encouraging people to apply for benefits such as SNAP and assisting them in the application process.

diaTribe recently spoke with Quisha Umemba, founder of Umemba Health, an organization that recruits and trains CHWs in Texas. A certified CHW instructor and diabetes care and education specialist, Umemba discussed how CHWs can support community members in addressing food insecurity and social support.

“CHWs can help people with diabetes advocate for better nutrition and food choices in their community,” Umemba said. “Often, people don’t know they can approach store managers or owners and request a different selection of foods. They also may not know how to approach their local representation in government or how to start a community petition to address issues like food insecurity.”

CHWs can also connect people with diabetes to their local food bank or farmer’s market to get the food they need. “They can provide nutrition education as well,” Umemba added. “Sometimes clients might have access to healthier foods but they don’t always know how to cook them.”

Not sure where to start? At findhelp.org you can enter your zip code and be immediately connected with food assistance, help paying bills, legal aid, and other free or reduced cost programs.

Increasing CHW engagement that focuses on specific interventions can help promote health equity. Unfortunately, there is still a great need for additional funding and resources for CHWs, especially during the pandemic.

Drs. Ballard and Rodriguez said the pandemic has negatively impacted the ability of CHWs to perform their roles. COVID-19 presented the challenge of providing specific pandemic-related support to communities without the necessary funding or virtual resources, they said. Plus, the economic hardships caused by COVID-19 led to an increased number of people requesting assistance from their CHWs with food, transportation, and financial issues.

Umemba agreed. “So much of what CHWs do revolves around establishing a trusted relationship with their clients,” she said. “It was difficult at the onset of the pandemic, but I believe for the most part that CHWs now see that personal interactions don’t just have to occur ‘in-person.’”

Drs. Ballard and Rodriguez also recommended specific interventions to better combat food insecurity and social support on the community level, such as developing standardized training and increasing funding for CHWs across the board. Umemba supported these interventions, lamenting the lack of federal regulations to support standardized training.

“There is no standardized training program for CHWs at the national level, as it is mostly governed by different states,” she said. “When I think about standardized training as it relates to food insecurity, first we need to make sure that CHWs know how to screen for it as well as the other social determinants of health. Also, we need to make sure resources are provided before the patient leaves the clinic, and that appropriate follow-up takes places. CHWs can be trained to screen, assemble and provide the appropriate resources and then follow-up as needed.”

In general, getting support from a community health worker in your area can be an extremely helpful resource not only for general guidance, but to improve your health and diabetes management.

Towards the end of the conversation, Umemba discussed her start in the field, making new observations on the interactions between people with diabetes and various members of the healthcare team such as fitness trainers, dieticians, nurses, and CHWs. Noting how each of these experts was able to connect with people with diabetes, Umemba observed that “year after year, virtually every single biometric including BMI, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., was better in the group taught by CHWs.”

She concluded that “the more charismatic and identifiable the instructor was, the better the participants did. There are plenty of people taking care of a person’s medical needs but not nearly enough people taking care of a person’s social needs. That’s why I’m such a big cheerleader for CHWs.”

If you need assistance related to food, shelter, healthcare, or financial resources, visit our “Affording Diabetes” resource page. On the right sidebar, you can find a helpful tool that allows you to enter your zip code and connect with a variety of resources in your area.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Here’s Why the CDC Updated their Mask Recommendations (Again)

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Lala Jackson

On Tuesday, July 26, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States issued new masking recommendations amidst increased rates and much more dangerous variants of COVID-19 in the US. There are two big and related reasons why:

  1. Masks are the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19, no matter your vaccination status. This is particularly important in places with high transmission rates; you can check your county’s rate here.
  2. We are in a fourth surge of COVID-19 in the United States, with hospitalization rates surging to higher than when the pandemic began. This is due to the more contagious and more dangerous delta variant of COVID-19.

Who Needs to Be Wearing a Mask and When?

Everyone, particularly when you’re in indoor public spaces (because you’re breathing in other people’s air, and they’re breathing in yours).

If you’re vaccinated, this is primarily to do your part to protect others. Breakthrough cases, (where a vaccinated person gets the COVID-19 disease) are rare, but vaccinated people can still carry the coronavirus to others without having any symptoms. Luckily, vaccinations still make a massive difference – people who are vaccinated are less likely to carry coronavirus and are extremely unlikely to experience any severe symptoms from the disease.

If you’re not vaccinated, this is to protect yourself and others, as you can carry high levels of COVID-19 to others even if you don’t get sick yourself. However, even if you’re an otherwise healthy person, it’s important to keep in mind just how much more dangerous the new variants of COVID-19 are.

These variants will continue to develop rapidly until almost everyone is vaccinated—because they have so many hosts in which to thrive—and they are more contagious than the original COVID-19 variant. This is due to how viruses mutate (all viruses do this; it’s why we have new flu vaccines every year to address new variants of the flu). And because so many people are still unvaccinated, the virus has lots of places to thrive and change, making it more contagious and more dangerous.

Why Do Vaccinated People Need to Wear a Mask in Indoor Public Spaces?

The delta variant can live in small amounts in people who are vaccinated, so even with no symptoms of COVID-19 ourselves, vaccinated folks can still pass the virus to other people.

This is particularly dangerous for the elderly or ill who have already been vaccinated but cannot afford to take on the high viral load of the delta variant and for children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.

To combat high transmission rates, several cities have already instituted mask mandates again, like Washington, D.C., Savannah, GA, and St. Louis, MO.

What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves and Others From the New Variants?

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and continuing to wear masks in indoor public spaces are the most impactful things we can each do to protect ourselves and others. Doing so right now matters, as we do not want to give the novel coronavirus more time to continue mutating beyond what we know how to prevent and treat. We have the tools to stop the current COVID-19 variations but they mean nothing unless we all use them now.

What if I’m Too Healthy to Get COVID-19?

Particularly if you have diabetes, you pay so much attention to your health, and you already do so much to make sure your system is healthy and strong. But think about this – hospitals are getting overwhelmed by COVID patients again, which means they cannot provide care for anyone else who needs it. Check out this statement from the Chief Medical Officer of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Louisiana.

Even if you don’t get COVID-19, can you absolutely guarantee that you won’t have a diabetes issue that needs medical help? That you won’t get in an accident where you need the emergency room? What if you just get the normal flu and you need IV-fluids, but there aren’t enough medical professionals to help you because they’re all dealing with COVID patients?

COVID-19 is a disruptor to our entire medical system. Protecting yourselves and others against it by getting the vaccine is the best way to ensure that you and your loved ones will be able to get the care they need, when they need it.

When Will This End?

When the vast majority of people are vaccinated against COVID-19, giving the virus no more places to hide and mutate into stronger and more dangerous versions.

Do your part. Get vaccinated. If you’re hesitant about them or want to learn more about their safety, read this piece clarifying a few myths about the vaccines, or this piece explaining how mRNA vaccines work.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccines for kids, read this.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

When You Can Expect to Get Your COVID-19 Vaccine

This content originally appeared on Beyond Type 1. Republished with permission.

By Lala Jackson

We now have two FDA-approved and safe COVID-19 vaccines in the US! So as a person with type 1 diabetes, you may be wondering when you can get yours.

The answer? Unclear. It’s all a bit of a logistical mess right now, but here’s what we do know – when you are able to receive your COVID-19 vaccine is dependent on your age, your specific health history (not necessarily whether or not you can check the ‘type 1 diabetes’ box on a form), the state and county in which you live, your employment type, and your healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Overall, having type 1 diabetes does not seem to put anyone more at risk for contracting the novel coronavirus, but other factors like older age, high-exposure employment, consistently elevated blood glucose levels, or other non-diabetes related health factors like obesity and hypertension may increase your risk of infection.

However, we also know that diabetes care itself is made far more complicated after contracting COVID-19 and protecting anyone with diabetes from COVID-19 is our ultimate goal. That’s why Beyond Type 1 has signed onto calls to action urging equal prioritization and is working closely with JDRF, the ADA, and other diabetes patient organizations to advocate for all people with diabetes to be included in Phase 1c of the CDC’s immunization recommendations.

Additionally, because vaccine rollout is happening on a state level, individual advocacy at a state level may be more efficient than federal action. In your community, reach out to your state representatives to let them know that people with any type of diabetes should be included in Phase 1c. Utilize JDRF’s COVID-19 Vaccine Access Toolkit for more resources.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Phased Us Rollout

In the US, the vaccine is being rolled out in phases in *most* states. Already, there are inconsistencies that make it difficult to estimate when you might get a vaccine.

Following approval of the vaccines, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices created a set of rollout guidelines they recommend for states to follow. These guidelines include phased recommendations for which groups of people should be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccines based on risk factors like older age, underlying health conditions, and lines of work that expose them to COVID-19.

Phase 1a is in process, having begun in December 2020 immediately following the approval of the COVID-19 vaccines in the US. It includes frontline healthcare providers and residents of nursing homes, where COVID-19 cases and deaths have been dramatically highest.

Phase 1b is happening in some states already, includes people over the age of 74, and expands to more frontline workers, including first responders, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, teachers, and child care workers.

Phase 1c is also happening in some states already, while still several months out others. This phase includes people over the age of 64, anyone else aged 16 or above with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19*, and all other essential workers, like those in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, construction, finance, information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, public safety, and public health workers.

Note that Phase 1c is a BROAD group of people, and this is where things get a bit fuzzy. It is up to each state to control rollout. Many states are following the CDC’s recommendations quite closely, some are following them but not precisely (grouping some phases together, accelerating others), and some have created their own systems, often down to a county-by-county basis.

*What Does This Mean for People With Diabetes?

For people living with diabetes who are not otherwise prioritized because of age or employment type, Phase 1c is the one to look at carefully. As defined by the CDC, people aged 16 or over with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 are included in this phase. But what medical conditions are included?

Short answer – it’s in flux and it depends entirely on your state. Important to remember is that the CDC’s recommendations are just that – recommendations. They have very purposely created guidelines to inform rollout based on most recently available data on high-risk medical conditions, but their guidelines are not meant to be absolute law.

Currently included in Phase 1c recommendations are people with the following conditions: cancer, chronic kidney disease, sickle cell disease, COPD, Down Syndrome, heart conditions, weakened immune systems, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, or Type 2 diabetes.

This means that for those with type 1 or any type of diabetes other than Type 2, you are possibly, depending on your state, not included in the initial rollout and may need to wait to receive your vaccine with the general population, which is likely to be in April 2021 or later.

But don’t panic – as we’ll explain further below, you may still be able to receive the vaccine earlier, based on state or based on your specific health history.

Type 1 Diabetes + COVID-19

Type 1 diabetes itself is not likely to make you more at risk of catching coronavirus. While some have pointed toward the callout of people with immunocompromised systems being in Phase 1c, it is important to remember that having an autoimmune disease (where the immune system attacks itself) is not the same thing as being immunocompromised (where the immune system is susceptible to outside illnesses).

However, other factors associated with T1D may increase your risk of more intense symptoms and severe complications, and if you have to get hospitalized for COVID-19, diabetes care becomes dicey.

This is a piece that has been very confusing and not communicated as clearly as it could be throughout the pandemic – the factors that make a person with any type of diabetes most at risk catching coronavirus and for experiencing severe symptoms and complications of COVID-19 are systemic racism (like being denied or not believed when care is needed), healthcare access issues (like not being able to see a doctor for non-COVID care when needed, or not being able to afford medications and supplies because of job or healthcare loss), consistently elevated blood glucose levels, recent diabetes ketoacidosisjobs that increase exposure to COVID-19, etc.

Type 1 diabetes combined with these factors does create elevated risk. But well-controlled type 1 diabetes on its own does not seem to make someone more at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

A few studies have raised concerns that outcomes for people with type 1 diabetes who get COVID-19 are far more severe than a person without diabetes, but digging into those studies provides clarity on what’s actually being shown.

  • In May 2020, the UK’s health system released numbers showing severe hospitalization and death rates for people with diabetes. It sounded scary, but what it did not clarify was that additional risk factors like heart disease were of great impact to outcomes, and that the study actually showed that people with type 1 diabetes and no other underlying risk factors like older age or other health history actually did quite well – they were not frequently hospitalized for COVID-19 and those who were had low frequencies of severe outcomes.
  • In December 2020, a similar study was released in Diabetes Care, with a headline saying that COVID-19 severity is tripled in the diabetes community. But again, what it did not immediately clarify was how much the severity was dependent on additional factors, like race (due to long-standing systemic racism), elevated HbA1c, hypertension, lack of diabetes technology, lack of health insurance, less diabetes technology use, etc.

Another study that shows these risk factors well was published in July 2020, outlining the fact that older age and other health-related risk factors were more impactful on severe outcomes than diabetes itself, particularly type 1 diabetes.

Overall, yes – anyone living with diabetes of any type needs to pay careful attention to their health amidst this pandemic. The safest thing anyone can do is practice safety measures to avoid getting COVID-19. For those who cannot – essential workers or people who otherwise have to be exposed to the virus – or those with other underlying health factors, those are the most important factors that must be taken into consideration for priority vaccination.

But just having type 1 diabetes alone, if you are otherwise healthy and not significantly exposed to the virus, should not give you reason to panic. Perhaps more important is ensuring everyone in the general public gets vaccinated as quickly as possible so that diabetes care can be safely accessed, and so hospitals and ICUs are not overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in the event of emergency diabetes care needs.

How You Get Your Vaccine

Look up your state health department’s guidelines. If it is unclear or you are unsatisfied with what you’ve found, go ahead and reach out to your healthcare provider. Particularly if you have a healthcare provider like an endocrinologist who helps you take care of your diabetes, they may have some insider information on how their hospital or practice is planning to distribute the vaccine.

Remember to be kind and patient – healthcare providers are carrying an immense amount and they may not have an answer for you immediately.

Every vaccine taken decreases the risk and prevents the spread of COVID-19. While it is frustrating to watch the logistical mess, the more people who get vaccinated quickly the better, and in the meantime, continue to practice safe measures that protect you and your loved ones from COVID-19, including doing your best to keep tight control of your blood sugar levels, wearing a mask and physical distancing from anyone outside of your household, and avoiding indoor gatherings.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Get Your Flu Shot Now

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Tom Cirillo

Health experts are recommending more than ever that people with diabetes get their flu shot this year to reduce the chances of getting sick with both flu and COVID-19. Learn about your vaccine options, where to get them, and how the flu can affect people with diabetes

The American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association recently released a joint statement urging people to get flu shots this season. These organizations, along with countless others, are encouraging people to get a flu vaccination because of concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic may overburden the healthcare system this winter. In addition, without a flu vaccine, there is an increased chance of catching both viruses at once. Many of the symptoms of the flu are also symptoms of COVID-19. Check out our piece from earlier this year, “Flu Shots are Even More Important in a Pandemic” for clues on telling the difference between flu and COVID-19 – it’s harder than it looks!

Diabetes can complicate the recovery from both the flu and COVID-19 due to fluctuating glucose levels and a weakened immune system. Even if glucose levels tend to be stable, it’s important that people with diabetes do everything they can to avoid becoming infected and remain healthy. Getting a flu shot every year is one of the main preventive measures – and most insurance plans in the US (including Medicare Part B and Medicaid in many states) provide free flu vaccination! The CDC urges, and the ADA also strongly emphasizes, the importance of everyone in your household also getting a flu shot – you are significantly less likely to get the flu if the people you live with are also immunized, so please remind them if this hasn’t happened.

Between 5% and 20% of the US population will get the flu each year. And harm from the flu is often underestimated. Last year alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that there were 38 million cases of flu, leading to 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths. 22,000! Each year a new flu vaccine is created to provide protection from the new strains of flu that scientists predict will be troublesome. Believe it or not, in years when the vaccine is well-matched to the virus, it reduces a person’s risk of illness between 40% to 60%. Last year about 52% of the population got a flu vaccine, which is estimated to have prevented 7.5 million illnesses, 105,000 hospitalizations, and 6,300 deaths. How can we make this percentage far higher for people with diabetes? Send us your best idea(s) and we’ll send you a free copy of Dr. David Kessler’s Fast Carbs, Slow Carbs!

It is by no means too late to get your flu shot – and in 2020, you want to be ahead of the curve, so do it now! Flu infections peak in February, and your flu shot will start protecting you from about two weeks after you receive it, for about six months. Use this amazing resource from Boston Children’s Hospital, the CDC, HealthMap, and Harvard Medical School to locate pharmacies and other facilities close to you where you can receive your vaccination. It showed 642 places within 50 miles of us right here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There are several kinds of flu vaccines that people can receive.

  • Flu shots (injected using a needle) are recommended for people with diabetes. There are different flu shots available, with some being approved for people of specific ages.
  • The nasal spray vaccine is generally not recommended for people with diabetes.
  • Flu vaccine by jet injector (rather than needle) is approved for people between the ages of 18 and 64.

Talk with your healthcare team about your flu vaccine options to determine which is best for you.

Being sick with the flu can make it more difficult to manage your diabetes. If you do become sick, be sure to follow your sick-day plan. “People with diabetes experience more hyperglycemic events, and substantial increases in pneumonia, sepsis [inflammation resulting from your immune response to infection] and coronary heart disease after being diagnosed with the flu,” said Dr. Robert Gabbay, the ADA’s Chief Scientific & Medical Officer. “If an individual does get the flu, being vaccinated [usually reduces the symptoms of the flu and] helps them avoid more serious health consequences.”

It is easy to get vaccinated from your healthcare team or a pharmacy offering flu shots, including a grocery store pharmacy. If you are currently experiencing flu-like or other respiratory symptoms (such as fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose), you should contact your healthcare team right away. There are anti-viral medications they can prescribe that can shorten the time you are sick and the severity of your illness.

In addition to the flu shot, there is another vaccine that you should receive: the pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine. This vaccine is about 60% effective at preventing lung infections (pneumonia) and other infections caused by the bacteria responsible for pneumonia. People with diabetes are also at greater risk of contracting pneumonia. The ADA recommends the pneumonia vaccine (which is also covered by most insurance plans) for all people with diabetes older than age 2. Right now, only about one-third of people with diabetes take advantage of this vaccine, so this is a great opportunity to reduce the number of cases of pneumonia. Depending on your age and underlying conditions you’ll need between one and three doses of the vaccine to keep you protected for the rest of your life. Be sure to talk to your healthcare team to determine the correct number of shots you’ll need, and when.

When thinking about keeping yourself healthy and reducing the risk of getting some combination of flu, pneumonia, and COVID-19 this winter, there is some good news. Strictly following the guidelines to avoid the coronavirus, such as mask wearing, frequent handwashing, and avoiding touching your face, also protects you from flu and pneumonia. Those precautions, plus getting the highly effective flu and pneumonia vaccines, are your best bet for staying healthy this winter and beyond.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

How Physically Active is Your State? New Data From the CDC

This content originally appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Jimmy McDermott and Ursula Biba

Data from the CDC show that 17% of people in Colorado self-report an inactive lifestyle, up to 48% of people in Puerto Rico

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on adult physical activity by state, showing rates of physical inactivity across the US.

Physical inactivity was self-reported through telephone interview surveys from 2015-2018, as part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Respondents were classified as physically inactive if they answered “no” to the following question:

“During the past month, other than your regular job, did you participate in any physical activities or exercises such as running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise?”

The data represent the percentage of survey respondents from each state who responded “no” and were therefore categorized as physically inactive.

Map

Image source: diaTribe

  • Colorado, Washington, Utah, Oregon, and DC showed the lowest rates of physical inactivity, between 15% and 20%.
  • States with the highest rates of inactivity (30% and over) included Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
  • Regionally, physical inactivity was the highest in the South at 28%, followed by the Northeast at 26%, the Midwest at 25%, and the West at 21%.
  • Racial and ethnic minorities show disproportionately higher levels of physical inactivity across the country. Frequency of physical inactivity was highest in Hispanics at 32%, followed by non-Hispanic blacks at 30%. Non-Hispanic whites showed a lower rate of 23%. This difference demonstrates inequalities in social determinants of health and the socioeconomic roots of physical inactivity (and subsequently, obesity and other related metabolic conditions).

All maps with physical activity data can be found on the CDC website.

How much should you exercise?

The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was released in 2018. The guidelines suggest that the biggest health benefits occur when someone shifts from no physical activity to even a small amount of activity. There are many simple ways to get moving:

  • Take a walk after a meal – make it part of your lunch break!
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Do a few squats while brushing your teeth.

While a small increase in activity can make a difference, the guidelines do suggest that people build toward minimum weekly activity recommendations. Each week, adults should get either:

  • 150-300 minutes (about 20-40 minutes per day) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like a brisk walk;
  • 75-150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise like running or jogging (about 10-20 minutes per day); or,
  • Some combination of moderate- and high-intensity activity.

For adults, experts also strongly recommend lifting weights or other resistance training.

The guidelines find that doing all your exercise for the week in one or two days is no different for your body than spreading exercise out over three or more days. So, how you fit exercise into your lifestyle is entirely up to you.

Looking for ways to include more physical activity in your life?

Check out our articles:

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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