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National Diabetes Prevention Program Summary

The National Diabetes Prevention Program helps Americans avoid the personal and financial toll of type 2 diabetes, a costly chronic disease that has increased dramatically in the United States over the past two decades.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the program, and is working with community-based organizations, insurers, employers and health care organizations to make it available across the country. Classes offered through the prevention program combine the power of group support with a curriculum proven effective in a research study to help people with prediabetes make lasting changes to protect their health.

Lifestyle change classes offered through the National Diabetes Prevention Program help participants choose healthier foods, increase physical activity and learn strategies for maintaining those changes. The curriculum is based on the Diabetes Prevention Program research study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and supported by CDC, which showed that losing a modest amount of weight and increasing physical activity prevented or delayed type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people with prediabetes.

In the National Diabetes Prevention Program, lifestyle change classes led by trained coaches 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.

CDC’s role in the National Diabetes Prevention Program also includes helping ensure a trained workforce of lifestyle coaches to lead classes effectively, and setting standards to recognize successful programs.

Prediabetes is a serious condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes also have a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Their blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. CDC estimates that 79 million Americans—35 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and older—have prediabetes. Without lifestyle changes, 25 to 50 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

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Facts about diabetes and its personal and financial costs

  • The number of Americans with diabetes has more than tripled in the past two decades.
  • An estimated 1 in 9 adults aged 20 years and older have diabetes. CDC estimates that if current trends continue, as many as 1 in 3 adults could have diabetes by 2050.
  • Medical costs for people with diabetes are 2.3 times higher than for people without the disease.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, amputation of feet and legs not related to an injury, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • One out of every five health care dollars is spent caring for someone diagnosed with diabetes. Nationwide implementation of the prevention program could save the U.S. health care system $5.7 billion and prevent about 885,000 cases of type 2 diabetes within 25 years, according to CDC research.

To learn more about the National Diabetes Prevention Program and to find CDC-recognized programs, visit

To watch the story of two women who enrolled in lifestyle change classes after learning they had prediabetes, watch the video A Change for Life.

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