The National Diabetes Prevention Program
The NDPP is an evidence-based lifestyle change program sponsored by CDC and administered through a partnership of public and private organizations working to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes.7 The program’s intervention is delivered over a 12-month period by a trained lifestyle coach, who uses a CDC-developed curriculum. The coach also encourages group interaction so that participants can support one another in achieving the goal of losing 5-7% of their initial body weight. The program emphasizes improving food choices, being physically active for at least 150 minutes each week, and developing skills to identify and overcome barriers to making lifestyle changes.
Expanding Access to the NDPP
The NDPP has been adopted in a variety of community settings with promising results. The YMCA’s implementation of the program was shown to significantly reduce medical care utilization and spending among Medicare beneficiaries.8 Based on these and other positive results, some private health plans now include the program as a covered benefit. In addition, Medicare reimbursement for the program is expected to begin in 2018, pending Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines and roll out. To meet the growing demand for services, the CDC is supporting state and local efforts to expand the number of NDPP providers in community settings. In LA County, the Department of Public Health is assisting in these efforts.
There are currently more than 60 certified NDPP providers in LA County including several online and remote programs and more sites are in development (see resource list). Clinicians are encouraged to refer their patients with pre-diabetes to a local NDPP provider.
Other Prevention Strategies
To help optimize the NDPP as a vital resource for helping patients reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the Department of Public Health, other local organizations, including health care organizations, and community stakeholders are actively engaged in broader efforts to promote policies and environmental changes that “make the healthy choice the easy choice.” These efforts include, for example, promoting land use policies that support walking, biking, and other forms of recreation; and promoting policies and practices in school, work, and community settings to increase access to affordable healthy foods while reducing the overabundance of junk food and other calorie laden food and beverages of limited nutritional value. These broader efforts offer synergistic approaches to the NDPP’s core feature which is to support program participants in making lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Physicians and other healthcare providers can help in this effort by becoming a champion for change in their community and in the hospital or clinic environment where they work. For example, providers can engage with food venues in their own work environment to convey the importance of and the need to offer healthier food options that are lower in calories, sugar, and sodium. Visit the Champion Provider Success Stories for other examples and inspiration.