Monday, September 8, 2014

Lifestyle Change programs for individuals with diabetes and prediabetes are cost effective

The average medical expenditures among people diagnosed with diabetes were 2.3 times higher than people without diabetes, according to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.

Diabetes can be treated and managed by healthful eating, regular physical activity, and medications to lower blood glucose levels. Patient education and self-care practices are important aspects of disease management that help people with diabetes stay healthy and decrease cost burden.

A recent study conducted at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that participants who were assigned to an intensive lifestyle change program focused on diet and exercise experienced statistically significant average savings compared to individuals assigned to a standard diabetes support program. Financial savings stemmed from fewer hospitalizations, shorter hospital stays, and a reduction in prescription medication usage.

For individuals who have prediabetes, meaning they have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes but have diabetes risk factors and/or elevated blood glucose levels, lifestyle change programs are also proven to be effective and cost saving.

The Community Preventive Services Task Force released an evidence-based recommendation in favor of programs that actively encourage those at increased risk for type 2 diabetes to eat healthier and be more physically active. The Task Force also concluded from the economic evidence that combined diet and physical activity promotion programs to prevent type 2 diabetes among people at increased risk are cost-effective.

A common theme among lifestyle change programs is the frequency and duration of patient contact, with initial sessions being conducted weekly for a minimum of 6 months, and maintenance sessions conducted at a lesser frequency, such as monthly.

The CDC-led lifestyle change program is the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Currently in Colorado there are over 20 recognized programs. For more information on the Diabetes Prevention Program in Colorado, please visit our informational website.

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