Adorable Hedgehogs Want You to Know About This Common Health Problem

Hedgehogs and other cute animals are featured in new public health campaign videos about prediabetes.
Hedgehogs and other cute animals are featured in new public health campaign videos about prediabetes. (Image credit: YouTube Screengrab/Do I Have Prediabetes)

To raise awareness about prediabetes, a new campaign features something most people can't resist — adorable animal videos.

With videos staring puppies, hedgehogs and baby goats, the campaign aims to teach people about their risk of prediabetes by walking them through a brief, 1-minute prediabetes risk test.

"Hedgehogs on vacation. A perfect way to spend a minute," one ad starts, while a background video shows hedges lounging on a tropical beach. "So is taking a 1-minute prediabetes risk test," the ad says.

The goal of the government-backed campaign is to encourage people to learn their risk of prediabetes and discover how to reduce their chances of developing the condition. More than 1 in 3 American adults, or 84 million people, have prediabetes, but nearly 90 percent don't know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC put together the campaign in partnership with the American Diabetes Association, the American Medical Association and the Ad Council. [Animal Morality: 6 Amazing Videos]

People with prediabetes have abnormally high blood sugar levels, and although the levels are not high enough to diagnose these individuals with diabetes, people with prediabetes often go on to develop type 2 diabetes. This can increase the risk of serious health problems such as blindness, heart attack or stroke, the CDC says.

"The number of Americans estimated to be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes is staggering," Dr. William T. Cefalu, chief scientific medical and mission officer of the American Diabetes Association, said in a statement for the campaign. With the campaign "we hope to heighten awareness about prediabetes and help more Americans learn their risk so they can make the lifestyle changes necessary to reduce their risk and delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes," Cefalu said.

The prediabetes risk test, which is also available online, includes questions such as "Are you a man?", "[Do you have a] family history of diabetes?" and "Are you over age 60? 50? 40?" Men, people who are older and those with family members who have diabetes are at higher risk for prediabetes.

The new campaign follows a similar prediabetes campaign from last year, which also featured a prediabetes risk test and humorous ads.

"With this year's campaign, we hope to educate more people, in more places, about the seriousness of prediabetes and to inspire them to take action against an often-reversible condition," said Michael Paterson, executive creative director of Ogilvy, the advertising agency that developed the campaign pro bono for the Ad Council. "Through a lighthearted and fun tone, we found more people were willing to take the test — and who doesn't love to watch baby goats?"

Prediabetes can be reversed with weight loss and changes in diet and exercise, according to the CDC. If people take the risk test and it shows they are likely to have prediabetes, they should consult their doctors to confirm the diagnosis and also learn about lifestyle changes that can help prevent type 2 diabetes, said Dr. David O. Barbe, president of the American Medical Association.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.