November is National Diabetes Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, nearly 26 million individuals in the United States had diabetes; and an estimated 79 million adults had prediabetes, a condition of elevated blood sugar that often leads to type 2 diabetes within a few years. Weight management, healthy eating, and physical activity are key factors in the prevention and control of type 2 diabetes.
As part of a cooperative agreement with the CDC, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is working with four member health plans, Aetna, EmblemHealth, Florida Blue, and Molina Healthcare, to implement the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) in Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Texas over the next four years. The health plans will collect data from the intervention sites, and AHIP will compile the data and report outcomes to the CDC as well as promote the program to health plans and employers. Participation may expand to additional health plans and states in the future.
The NDPP is an evidence-based program that reduces the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent. It helps participants make healthy lifestyle changes such as choosing healthier foods and increasing physical activity, and learning strategies for maintaining those changes.
The CDC is working with community-based organizations, insurers, employers, and health care organizations to make the National DPP available across the country. CDC’s role in the National Diabetes Prevention Program also includes helping ensure a trained workforce of lifestyle coaches to lead classes effectively, as well as setting program standards and monitoring performance to recognize successful programs. Classes offered through the prevention program combine the power of group support with evidence-based curriculum to help people with prediabetes make lasting changes to improve and protect their health.
The program includes lifestyle change classes led by trained coaches that meet for 16 core sessions, as participants focus on losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes each week. After the initial 16 sessions, classes meet monthly for six months.
The CDC has also awarded UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) a grant to expand the reach of the DPCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. The DPCA currently offers the National Diabetes Prevention Program through local YMCAs and community health centers in 73 markets in 31 states.
For more information about the National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention.