Category: UD Health
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
August 08, 2023 Written by Amy Cherry | Photos by Ashley Barnas
CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program promotes lifestyle changes, leading to transformations
Elizabeth Bolt used to drink three 32 oz. Mountain Dews a day. For breakfast, she’d have a Coke. For lunch, she’d have a candy bar.
When she used to work at Hardee’s, she drank a dozen Mountain Dews a shift. That’s 2,880 calories in just soda. The total daily recommended caloric intake for women is 2,000 calories.
“It was all I consumed in a day,” she said. “Soda was a form of quick energy. Sugar was my crutch.”
Years ago, she learned she was pre-diabetic. The news didn’t come as a surprise since both sides of Bolt’s family were “cursed” with diabetes. She was in sheer denial.
“I didn’t take it seriously,” she said. “I stopped even testing after little changes had no effect.”
With help from the University of Delaware’s Prevent T2 program, Bolt has done a complete 180. Now, she eats salads for lunch almost every day and can hardly finish a single soda.
“It sits in my car and goes flat,” she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans has prediabetes and doesn’t even know it. Prevent T2 is a year-long, evidence-based lifestyle behavior change program that’s a joint effort between the Nutrition and Health Coaching clinics within the College of Health Sciences. The program helps participants take charge of their lives and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Participants receive nutrition and health and wellness education, health coaching, and exercise support in a group setting.
“Research shows that people who follow lifestyle behavior change programs and lose between 5% and 7% of their body weight and do a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week reduce their risk of transitioning to Type 2 diabetes by 58%, which is more than can be achieved by the diabetes medication Metformin alone,” said Donna Paulhamus, director of UD’s Nutrition Clinic within the Department of Health Behavior and Nutrition Sciences.
Paulhamus and Tara Leonard, director of UD’s Health Coaching Clinic, lead the Prevent T2 program. The program, now part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program led by the CDC, was founded in 2020 and received official CDC recognition in 2021. A Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program was added to expand the program in 2023.