Video about type 2 diabetes prevention program: youtube.com/watch?v=jUgKzEH6TeY
Reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes
Photo by Ashley Barnas | Video by Ashley Barnas January 07, 2022
UD Health Sciences program recognized by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Behavioral Health and Nutrition PreventT2 National Diabetes Prevention Program (BHAN NDPP) at the University of Delaware was granted full recognition from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The joint effort between the Nutrition and Health Coaching Clinics provides a 12-month evidence-based lifestyle change program focused on reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in individuals diagnosed with prediabetes or a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Participants attend PreventT2 classes, provided by a trained lifestyle behavior coach, where they learn the skills needed to make lasting changes to lose a modest amount of weight, eat healthier, manage stress, and be more physically active.
“Behavioral changes take time,” said Donna Paulhamus, director of the Nutrition Clinic, in explaining the purpose of a year-long program. “Recognizing this, the CDC designed the Prevent T2 classes to ensure these changes are sustainable and long-lasting. Participants are able to support each other through the challenges and successes of making healthy behavior changes in the fight against type 2 diabetes.
“While adhering to the CDC PreventT2 program, we personalize the program for individual participants as much as possible. Our nutrition side is focused on providing the knowledge needed to make healthier choices like increasing fruit, vegetable, and whole grain foods, reducing sugar and saturated fat intake, and watching portion sizes. This is important because everyone has their own goals and challenges.”
The clinic team regularly gathers information on attendance, weight, and amount of exercise. Participants may also see progress when visiting their healthcare providers; many participants experience reductions in their hemoglobin A1c tests that measure average blood sugar levels. This portrays the effectiveness of the program. The first cohort of participants that started in January 2020 has lost an average of 16 pounds. The second cohort is ongoing, and the team plans to begin a new one for 2022.
Tara Leonard, clinical director for the Health Coaching Clinic, said, “There’s a huge obesity epidemic leading to prediabetes” in the United States. "It has created a need at UD to address these concerns. We wanted to establish a program with community outreach and provide services that help create a vehicle for student education and research."
Leonard added, “Student engagement is a highlight of UD. This program takes students out of the textbook and allows engagement directly in the study. Students collect data for analysis and prepare materials and present them to the group. This all creates a fantastic opportunity to develop hands-on learning experience.”
Sometimes, participants may stray from their progress after the program is over. For the NDPP team, the relationship with participants doesn’t end when the 12-month program is completed. The team regularly meets with PreventT2 alumni to check in on their progress and bring some back for classes to lend support and talk with current participants about their success. Participants experience the program’s value and continue to become engaged with other programs and resources at UD.
To further gauge the effectiveness and impact of the PreventT2 program, the team reached out to current and past participants in September.
“One of the biggest things for me was incorporating 150 minutes of exercise into my weekly schedule,” said Tom Casti, who participated in the 2021 PreventT2 cohort. “When I exercise regularly, I feel better mentally but also physically. Even though we were meeting by Zoom, we were able to support other participants and celebrate successes with our group. Once the ball is rolling, it just continues.”
Michelle Moran was also part of the 2021 PreventT2 cohort.
“Learning how to manage protein intake and carbs in our daily diet, as well as how they function in our body, helped us understand the reasons to change,” Moran said. “It isn’t just about the food — but also the mindset that keeps you on track.”
David Kolasinski, a participant in the 2020 PreventT2 cohort, recommends the program because it “intensely covers all the aspects” of diabetes.
“I didn’t have much knowledge of proper eating/diet habits when I started the program,” Kolasinski said. “We learned about the steps to control the disease and minimize its effects without having to rely heavily on medications. I have more energy now; I’ve lost the weight and managed to maintain it and I hope to benefit with a longer, healthier life.”
Emil LaVita, another participant in the 2020 PreventT2 cohort, summed up how positive the program was in improving his health through this statement: “I enjoyed it so much, I’d do it again!”
Accountability between the lifestyle coach, other participants and themselves provided the foundation for continued growth. L’Tanya Billups, another participant of the NDPP, said, “Knowing I have to report my weight every week keeps me on target. The accountability and structure support me, and I don’t know where I can find that elsewhere.”
Recognition from the CDC is a significant step as the team continues to expand Prevent T2 and integrate new members. Ultimately, the goal is to have sufficient lifestyle behavior coaches and resources to manage multiple PreventT2 groups throughout the year.
“Being a provider of a CDC recognized National Diabetes Prevention Program is a huge accomplishment for our University,” Paulhamus said. “We are one of only three fully-recognized national diabetes prevention programs in Delaware. We are working hard to tackle the prediabetes awareness problem, so individuals are able to participate in programs like this and make a lasting difference in the fight against type 2 diabetes.”
CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program
The initial CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) research study conducted in 2000 revealed that modest behavioral changes helped participants lose 5% to 7% of their body weight. These lifestyle changes reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% in individuals with prediabetes. The NDPP started in 2010 as a national effort to establish partnerships with public and private businesses in the interest of creating effective interventions to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes throughout the country.