About the Program
The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program is designed to bring to communities evidence-based lifestyle change programs for preventing type 2 diabetes. It is based on the Diabetes Prevention Program research study led by the National Institutes of Health and supported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lifestyle program in this study showed that making modest behavior changes, such as improving food choices and increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week, helped participants lose 5% to 7% of their body weight. These lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% in people at high risk for diabetes. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke.
Participants work with a lifestyle coach in a group setting to receive a 1-year lifestyle change program that includes 16 core sessions (usually 1 per week) and 6 post-core sessions (1 per month). The National Diabetes Prevention Program encourages collaboration among federal agencies, community-based organizations, employers, insurers, health care professionals, academia, and other stakeholders to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people with prediabetes in the United States.
The inaugural partners of the National Diabetes Prevention Program were the Y (also known as YMCA of the USA) and UnitedHealth Group (UHG). These partner organizations were instrumental in starting up the national program and continue to expand the reach of evidence-based lifestyle programs. CDC is enthusiastic about other organizations becoming involved in the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
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How can the program prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes?
Prediabetes means a person has a blood glucose (blood sugar) level that is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. The CDC estimates that more than one third of adult Americans and half of all adults aged 65 years and older have prediabetes. People with prediabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes that can lead to serious health problems such as vision loss, lower limb amputations, and kidney disease. Although the statistics are alarming, tools are available to help manage diabetes and prevent new cases.
Studies have shown that people with prediabetes who lose a modest amount of weight (5% to 7%) and increase their physical activity to 150 minutes a week can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Participants in the program get help and support to make and sustain lifestyle changes needed to prevent type 2 diabetes. The National Diabetes Prevention Program is a 12-month program that has demonstrated effectiveness in improving the health of people with prediabetes. Participants meet in a group setting and learn about important changes that can help prevent type 2 diabetes, such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active, and managing stress.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program teaches participants strategies for incorporating physical activity into daily life and eating healthy. Lifestyle coaches work with participants to identify emotions and situations that can sabotage their success, and the group process encourages participants to share strategies for dealing with challenging situations.
Participants aim to lose 5% to 7% of their body weight by reducing fat and calories, and by being physically active for 150 minutes a week (for a person weighing 200 pounds, the goal would be to lose 10 to 14 pounds.) Participants get useful information about eating nutritious foods, eating the right portion sizes, reading food labels, and adding physical activity. The group interaction during the 16-week core program is crucial to the program’s success. With a supportive group to cheer their successes and empathize with their setbacks, participants don’t have to make lifestyle changes alone. The 6-month period of time after the core program is critical to the maintaining healthy lifestyle changes. Participants may have setbacks during this period but continue to work through these challenges with the help of the lifestyle coach and other group members by sharing successful ways to help stay focused and by reviewing curriculum content to reinforce continued positive strategies for maintaining healthy weight loss.
Find out if the program is offered in your community. To learn about the program, sign up to receive e-mail updates.