Excerpt from the Executive Summary:

The Kentucky Department of Public Health is responsible for improving the health and safety of Kentucky’s residents by preventing disease and injuries and encouraging healthy lifestyles. The department administers nearly 150 programs that address critical health issues affecting Kentuckians. These programs screen newborns for health problems, prevent the spread of infectious diseases, promote oral health, and provide numerous other services.

Diabetes represents a growing health concern for the nation and Kentucky. It is a chronic condition that causes blood sugar levels to rise and contributes to other serious health conditions such as heart and kidney disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists diabetes as the 7th leading cause of death in the nation.

The disease imposes significant costs on the country’s economy. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the U.S. spends $237 billion annually on diabetes-related health care. In addition, diabetes also adversely affects the nation’s workforce. As the disease progresses, individuals may find it more difficult to work. This can reduce employment, productivity, wages, and tax revenue.

To better understand how diabetes affects Kentucky residents, the Kentucky Department of Public Health contracted with the University of Kentucky’s Center for Business and Economic Research to study the economic impacts of the disease. This study has three main goals:

  1. estimate the effect diabetes has on Kentucky’s workforce;
  2. estimate the short-run and long-run effects diabetes has on state tax revenues; and
  3. examine how prevention and education programs could affect the health of those with diabetes and how they could potentially affect the state’s workforce and tax revenues.

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Prepared for: Department for Public Health Cabinet for Health and Family Services

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