Community-Based Diabetes Prevention Program Shows Promise

New study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

San Diego, September 9, 2008 – With over 60 million Americans diagnosed with prediabetes, putting them at increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular events and other obesity-related ailments, finding ways to help large populations avoid these complications is an important initiative. In an article published in the October 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine report that organizations such as the YMCA can be an effective vehicle for diabetes-prevention education.

A number of significant studies, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), have shown that structured diet and physical exercise can significantly reduce the progression of prediabetes to diabetes. These trials involved strict enrollment criteria and major lifestyle changes that are difficult to translate into large-scale, community-level programs.

With over 2,500 facilities serving more than 10,000 rural, suburban and inner-city communities, and a long history of implementing successful health promotion programs, the YMCA is in a unique position to help develop this pilot study for large-scale outreach. Two facilities, located in semi-urban neighborhoods in greater Indianapolis, Indiana, participated in the current study. One offered the increased DPP-style intervention while the other offered standard diabetes-prevention advice (controls).

The study involved 92 participants, divided into an intervention group (46) and a control group. Both groups received baseline educational materials, but the intervention group was offered a core curriculum involving 16 classroom-style meetings focused on building knowledge and skills for goal setting, self-monitoring and problem-solving. Program sessions lasted 60–90 minutes, and the entire core curriculum was delivered over 16–20 weeks.

At the 4–6-month follow-up visit, body weight decreased by 6.0% in intervention participants and 2.0% in control participants. This was equal to a mean weight loss of 5.7 kg (12.5 lbs) for intervention participants and 1.8 kg (4.0 lbs) for controls, a clinically meaningful and significant difference. There was also a significant and clinically meaningful difference in the change in total cholesterol concentration (–21.6 mg/dL intervention vs +6 mg/dL controls). All of these differences persisted at the 12-14 month follow-up visits.

Writing in the article, Ronald T. Ackermann, MD, MPH, states, “This is the first study to demonstrate that the YMCA is a promising vehicle for the dissemination of the DPP lifestyle intervention into the community…In this pilot study, people at high risk for developing diabetes achieved and maintained a mean 6% reduction in baseline body weight and significant reductions in total cholesterol. Given these results, delivery of the DPP via the YMCA warrants further study as a model for the wide-scale dissemination of an evidence-based strategy to lower diabetes and cardiometabolic risk for millions of Americans with prediabetes.”

The article is “Translating the Diabetes Prevention Program into the Community: The DEPLOY Pilot Study” by Ronald T. Ackermann, MD, MPH; Emily A. Finch, MA; Edward Brizendine, MS; Honghong Zhou, PhD and David G. Marrero, PhD. It appears in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 35, Issue 4 (October 2008) published by Elsevier.

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Full text of the article is available upon request; contact eAJPM@ucsd.edu to obtain copies. To schedule an interview, please contact Dr. Ronald T. Ackermann via email at rtackerm@iupui.edu or by phone at 317 278 0906.

About the American Journal of Preventive Medicine
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine is the official journal of The American College of Preventive Medicine and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research. It publishes articles in the areas of prevention research, teaching, practice and policy. Original research is published on interventions aimed at the prevention of chronic and acute disease and the promotion of individual and community health. The journal features papers that address the primary and secondary prevention of important clinical, behavioral and public health issues such as injury and violence, infectious disease, women's health, smoking, sedentary behaviors and physical activity, nutrition, diabetes, obesity, and alcohol and drug abuse. Papers also address educational initiatives aimed at improving the ability of health professionals to provide effective clinical prevention and public health services. The journal also publishes official policy statements from the two co-sponsoring organizations, health services research pertinent to prevention and public health, review articles, media reviews, and editorials.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine is ranked 13th out of 100 Public, Environmental & Occupational Health titles and 17th out of 100 General and Internal Medicine titles according to the 2007 Journal Citation Reports© published by Thomson Reuters.

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