Nearly 14 months ago, 174 City of Colorado Springs employees with diabetes entered the 10-City Diabetes Challenge, a program to test how much diabetes and its treatment costs could be controlled.

They exercised, ate healthy foods and met regularly with a pharmacist to track insulin levels, blood pressure and cholesterol.

The results: more than 65 percent of them reduced indicators for the disease and reported feeling better. And, the average medical savings totaled $1,234 per person.

Nationwide, the program showed average total health care savings of $1,079 per patient.

A total of 573 people participated in the program for 14.8 months.

Treatment for the more than 23 million Americans who have diabetes is estimated to cost of $174 billion a year.

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According to the American Pharmacists Association:

  • 200,000 people die of diabetes related complications every year
  • Thousands are affected by blindness, kidney failure and problems of the lower extremities.
  • In 2007, diabetes was responsible for 15 million absent work days, 120 million work days with reduced performance and additional 107 million work days lost due to unemployment disability.