Lose Weight with the Diabetes Prevention Program
Starting June, the Affordable Care Act, which focuses on preventive health, will require most health insurers to make proven weight-loss and behavior-modification programs available without a copayment to obese customers carrying a doctor’s referral. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended last year that doctors refer their obese patients to “intensive, multi-component behavioral interventions” aimed at promoting weight loss and increasing physical activity. It cited only one program that met its strict standards: the Diabetes Prevention Program.
The Diabetes Prevention Program was developed at the University of Indiana and was designed to consist of intensive 12-week weight loss phase and nine months of maintenance. The program aims at preventing type 2 diabetes by encouraging obese adults to shed as 5-7% of their weight and exercise at least 150 minutes a week.
Studies have shown that the program is significantly more effective at helping people to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes through weight loss compared to usual care, which consists of patient education. Under the program, a trained coach leads the participants to follow tightly scripted sessions to achieve modest goals. Clinical trials show that participants were more likely to lose weight and maintain weight loss for more than a year than patients who tried to lose weight on their own. A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 showed that participants reduced their risk for developing diabetes by as much as 58% after the program.
To date, a number of states including the District of Columbia offer the Diabetes Prevention Program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allotted almost $7 million in 2012 to encourage public health advocates, health insurers, and employer groups to adapt the program.
Healy, M. Weight-loss regimen a preferred choice for countering diabetes. Los Angeles Times.