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Mayor Bloomberg Unveils American Diabetes Association New York City Subway Ad Campaign On National Diabetes Alert Day

March 28, 2006

Launched In Celebration of 18th Annual American Diabetes Alert Day, Subway Ad Campaign Asks "Are You At Risk?"

An Estimated 250,000 New Yorkers Have Undiagnosed Diabetes

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined by Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden and Dr. Peter Sheehan, President of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) New York City Leadership Council, today unveiled the ADA's New York City subway ad campaign, "Are You at Risk?" - a nationwide call to action to identify the millions of Americans who are unaware that they have diabetes. In New York City alone, an estimated 800,000 people are living with diabetes - 250,000 of them are unaware of it. The subway advertising campaign - specifically designed with iconographic images of New York City - was unveiled today at Grand Central Station in Manhattan on National American Diabetes Alert Day.

"As promised in my State of the City address, we've launched an aggressive campaign to target the only major health problem in our City that is getting worse - diabetes," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It's a vicious silent killer that affects more than 800,000 of our residents but with partners like the American Diabetes Association, we can ensure that individuals living with diabetes get the care and help they need to control the disease. Public health is a fundamental responsibility of government, and we are going to do everything we can to help New Yorkers live longer and healthier lives."

"Diabetes is epidemic in New York City and has been getting worse rapidly," said Commissioner Frieden. "More than 500,000 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with diabetes, which is more than double the number from only ten years ago. Every person with diabetes should know that by controlling their diabetes through increased physical activity, healthier nutrition, and medicines, they can feel better, be healthier, and live longer."

Diabetes health care costs around the country totaled $132 billion in 2002, up from $98 billion in 1997. Despite aggressive research efforts there is no cure in sight.  Nationwide more than one million people develop the disease each year.  In addition, approximately 41 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a classification which indicates higher than normal blood glucose (sugar) levels. Without intervention, individuals with pre-diabetes are at a much higher risk for developing diabetes.  ADA's annual "Alert Day" targets individuals who are undiagnosed and those at risk through a public awareness campaign educating people about diabetes risk factors and warning signs.

"With early detection and treatment, diabetes can be managed, and its devastating complications can be prevented or delayed," said Dr. Sheehan.  "The American Diabetes Association hopes that this Alert Day will help people recognize and act on any diabetes risk factors and warning signs they might discover."

Individuals with type 2 diabetes can live for years without realizing that they have the disease. While people with diabetes can exhibit noticeable symptoms, such as frequent urination, blurred vision and excessive thirst, most people with type 2 diabetes do not have these overt warning signs at the time they develop the disease.  Often, type 2 diabetes only becomes evident when people develop one or more of its serious complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage and nerve damage that can lead to amputations. The primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, sedentary, and having a family history of diabetes.  Individuals over the age of 45 and African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk.

The City's goal is to reduce the number of New Yorkers at the highest risk for diabetes complications by 20% by the end of 2008. To reach this goal, the City is taking severalsteps, including:

  • Establishing the nation's first-ever City-based diabetes registry.   This program will enable New York City to be the first area of the country to monitor the effectiveness of diabetes treatment for its population.  An intervention program starting in the South Bronx, where 18% of adults have diabetes, will help doctors and patients improve care.

  • Educating more than 4,000 new mothers each year who develop gestational diabetes, or high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy.

  • Asking all restaurants to voluntarily eliminate trans fat from their kitchens. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils have been chemically modified and contain relatively high levels of trans fat, which increases risk of heart disease, the City's top cause of death.

The ADA is the nation's leading voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information, and advocacy.  The subway campaign was created by Buro+Creative, a marketing communications agency that designs marketing concepts and creative campaigns for a range of international clients.  The ADA also worked with CBS Outdoor on the campaign.  Posters will appear throughout the New York City subway stations, as well as on LIRR train station platforms.

To help people better recognize their own risk for type 2 diabetes, the ADA provides a simple, seven-question diabetes risk test.  The risk test, in English or Spanish, is available in brochure form by calling the ADA toll-free at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or can be taken online at  The "Are You at Risk" subway campaign also includes a call-to-action for New Yorkers to participate in the ADA's upcoming Tour de Cure, the association's premiere cycling event.  There are two Tours in the Greater New York City area.  The New York City to Suburb rides takes place on June 4, 2006 at Morningside Park and the Long Island ride takes place on June 11, 2006 in Brookville.  To register for the Tour de Cure, call 1-888-diabetes (342-2383) or visit


Stu Loeser/Jordan Barowitz

(212) 788-2958
Sandra Mullin
Health and Mental Hygiene
(212) 788-5290
Jamie DePasquale (ADA)