Diabetes Survey by Rite Aid and WebMD Highlights Gap in Perceptions

Men and women have very different views on the effect diabetes has on their lives, according to a recent WebMD survey of adults living with Type 2 diabetes. The survey, conducted as part of a collaboration between Rite Aid and WebMD, revealed that women more often reported that diabetes had a greater negative impact on their emotional outlook and their compliance with diet and exercise recommendations.

It also found that women were more open than men to receiving tools to help them manage their diabetes, including counseling from pharmacists.

“The survey results make sense when you consider that women play multiple roles—employee, homemaker, and caretaker, often for both children and parents,” said Carolyn Daitch, MD, director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Farmington Hills, Michigan. “Having ready access to a resource such as a pharmacist who can provide guidance and tools for self-care and practical, easy-to-implement recommendations for a healthy lifestyle can be very valuable in helping to manage diabetes.”

Robert Thompson, Rite Aid Executive Vice President of Pharmacy, said the survey can provide important information to help Rite Aid better understand and meet the needs of the 26 million Americans living with diabetes.

“It’s no secret that living with diabetes isn’t always easy and that, at times, it can be overwhelming,” said Thompson in a statement. “It’s important to us that our customers know they are not alone. Rite Aid pharmacists have long been dedicated to caring for our customers living with diabetes. Our wellness+ for diabetes program and WebMD’s Diabetes head2toe are just the latest resources we offer to help them live well with diabetes. We’re glad to see that the survey findings further validate our approach.”

Some of the key findings from the survey are as follows:

  • 50% of women who reported being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes (50%) said they feel overwhelmed when it comes to living with diabetes, compared to just 31% of men.
  • 53% of women admitted to feeling in control of their diabetes, compared to more than two-thirds (68%) of men.
  • 36% of women reported exercising 30 minutes or more per day, compared to 47% of men.
  • 45% of women said that they avoid sweet and salty snacks, compared to 56% of men.

The survey also found that women living with diabetes—particularly those aged 45 to 64—said they are enthusiastic about receiving tools that can help them better manage diabetes, including .diabetic-friendly recipes and tips for eating right, e-mail newsletters, savings on diabetes-related products, and videos and articles about diet, exercise, and symptoms. All these resources are now provided through Rite Aid’s new wellness+ for diabetes.

Survey results showed that the struggle to manage diabetes doesn’t get easier over time for either men or women. The differences in greater perceived negative impact for women persist over their lifespan although the times of peak stress vary for men and women. Although women reported the most difficulty in sustaining positive lifestyle behaviors and remaining optimistic in the period 5 to 10 years after diagnosis, the greatest reported negative emotional and psychological impact for men comes 10 years or more after diagnosis.

Launched in September, wellness+ for diabetes features exclusive 24/7 online access to a special Rite Aid-sponsored section of WebMD’s “Diabetes head2toe” online lifestyle management tools. For more information, visit WebMD.com/diabeteshead2toe.