National NWHRC Survey Shows Women Overlook Common Warning Signs Associated with Poor Blood Sugar Management, Raising the Risk for Diabetes and Heart Disease

Red Bank, NJ: For women, excess weight in the mid-section, frequent fatigue and carbohydrate cravings may be the warning signs of something more serious. A new survey commissioned by the not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) showed that 75 percent of women ages 40-65 who had not been diagnosed with, but had a family history of diabetes or heart disease, reported that they experienced these symptoms. However, nearly one-third (32%) of all women surveyed did not know they could be signs of impaired insulin function, a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The most common symptoms experienced were excess weight in the mid-section (62%), frequent fatigue (36%) and carbohydrate cravings (30%).

"When women who don't have diabetes hear the word 'insulin' they tune out because they think it doesn't apply to them. It is critical for women to look at these common symptoms as a wake up call and understand that insulin health is important for all of us," said Audrey Sheppard, president and CEO of NWHRC, the leading independent health information source for women. "Our goal is to educate women about the important role blood sugar plays in preventing disease and how simple physical and dietary changes can help improve their overall health."

NWHRC has created tools to help women better understand and take care of their blood sugar. These tools are available for download at or by calling the organization's toll-free number, 877-986-9472.

About the Survey

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) between August 10 and August 14, 2006 among 1,377 U.S. adult women 18 years of age or older. Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 1,377 adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-4 percentage points. The sampling error for the sub-samples of women who take individual vitamin or mineral supplements (n=492), women ages 40-65 who have not been diagnosed with heart disease or type 2 diabetes and do not have a family history of heart disease or type 2 diabetes (n=682), and women ages 40-65 who have not been diagnosed with heart disease or type 2 diabetes but do have a family history of heart disease or type 2 diabetes (n=578) is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The survey and the campaign materials were made possible through an educational grant from Nutrition 21.


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