Diabetic Risk Taking: The Role of Information, Education and Medication
Diet adherence is a key determinant in minimizing the risk of diabetic health complications. Diabetics who ignore their doctor's advice, concerning diet, smoking and exercise, are taking a gamble. Food product innovation, improved understanding about the benefits of tight diabetic compliance, and increased information dissemination all provide incentives for diabetics to modify their behavior. This paper uses repeated cross-sections of the NHANES from 1971-1994 to document that diabetics are making better choices over time relative to earlier cohorts and relative to non-diabetics. They smoke less than their non-diabetic counterparts. Their consumption of cholesterol has fallen sharply and they are reducing their alcohol and sweets consumption. New medications have played an important role in improving diabetic quality of life. This paper studies whether access to improved diabetic medicine has created offsetting incentives such that diet compliance falls. I find little evidence that the more medicated display worse health habits. Copyright 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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