Reverse Prediabetes With a Diabetes Prevention Program
March 4, 2020 / Corporate Wellness
What Is a Diabetes Prevention Program?
A diabetes prevention program (DPP) is an evidence-based preventive health program designed to reverse prediabetes or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. It can complement, augment or reduce the need for a diabetes management program, but is not suitable for those already living with diabetes. A DPP includes curriculum, behavior tracking tools, professional health coaching and peer support for living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Digital diabetes prevention programs present one of the most significant opportunities to deliver chronic disease prevention at scale for one of the most prevalent and costly conditions. Currently, diabetes affects at least 8.5% of the world’s population, with millions more at risk of developing the disease.
Lifestyle Interventions Can Reverse Prediabetes
It’s estimated that one in three Americans has prediabetes — a state in which blood sugar readings are higher than normal but below the diagnostic criteria for diabetes. Prediabetes often goes undetected, and about 90% of people don’t know they have it. If someone with prediabetes doesn’t address their risk areas, they’re likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. A study published in Critical Diabetes and Endocrinology found that 25% percent of people with prediabetes will progress to Type 2 diabetes within 3-5 years and 75% will make that transition during their lifetimes.
Lifestyle change interventions, such as switching to a healthy diet, exercising regularly and losing a small amount of weight, have been shown to effectively reduce the risk of developing diabetes. When these lifestyle interventions are delivered in an easy-to-use, accessible format, like a digital diabetes prevention program, it increases the likelihood that someone can see positive results. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control, a year-long, structured lifestyle change intervention can reduce the risk of diabetes by 58% among adults with prediabetes and 71% for adults over age 60.
Diabetes Prevention Programs in the Workplace
Employers can make a significant positive impact on the health of their population by offering a diabetes prevention program to their employees. One-third of your employee population is likely to be prediabetic. Helping those managing prediabetes or dealing with a recent diagnosis reverse their disorder can significantly benefit them and your organization. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a diabetes prevention program.
Opt for a High-Tech, High-Touch Approach
Diabetes prevention programs are best delivered as a combination of intuitive, mobile-friendly software (like an app) and live health coaching services. This hybrid approach provides a necessary human touch and the benefit of connected health monitoring devices.
Avoid Anything That Promises Fast Results
Any diabetes prevention program that is shorter than six months to a year in length should be questioned. Seeing meaningful results requires a long-term commitment to learning and following healthy dietary practices, practicing stress management techniques and adding physical activity to a busy schedule. Lifestyle changes also need to be introduced at a realistic pace that meets individuals where they’re at. DPPs should provide ongoing support and follow up care to drive long-term success.
Make It Inclusive
Significant segments of the population have been left out of effective digital therapeutics simply because they aren’t designed to be inclusive of different languages and cultures. DPPs and all their components are best delivered in the language that employees work, play, shop, pray and live in. Simply machine–translating everything from the original English language program won’t cut it, either. Look for different versions of the program that have been built from the ground up with a specific language, nutritional culture and social context in mind.
DPPs present a significant opportunity to reverse or reduce the risk of a serious health condition in your workforce. To learn more about digital therapeutics for diabetes prevention, reach out to an expert at Virgin Pulse today.