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U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program Might Avert 885,000 Cases
Date:1/12/2012

program would include 16 intensive core sessions offered over five months to help people lose weight and to adopt other healthy lifestyle habits. The researchers estimated a weight loss of about nine pounds.

The first sessions would be followed by six monthly sessions to help reinforce and sustain the new lifestyle changes. During the second year, people would be offered eight maintenance sessions.

During the first- and second-year sessions, the training would be offered by trained lifestyle coaches. Next, follow-up sessions would be conducted by a health care provider once or twice a year, according to the study.

Realizing that not everyone would maintain a weight loss or a new exercise regimen, the authors assumed that there would be a 40 percent risk reduction in diabetes for the first two years for people between 18 and 64. They also assumed that after the first two years, there would be a decrease in the risk reduction of about 10 percent per year.

Zhuo and colleagues also assumed that older people might be more likely to sustain healthy changes and figured a 50 percent reduction in diabetes risk for the first two years and a 15 percent decline in risk reduction for each subsequent year in people between 65 and 84 years old.

The cost of this intervention would be about $300 per person for the first year, $150 for the second and about $50 a year thereafter, according to the report. The authors estimated it would take about 14 years to recoup this investment. But, over 25 years, it would save nearly $6 billion in health care costs.

Zhuo said the biggest barrier to implementing such a program would be funding. But, he said, policies offering incentives to private insurers for providing diabetes-prevention reimbursement might help get more insurers to consider making the investment.

Some insurers are onboard with the concept of prevention programs. In another article in the same issue of the journal, Deneen Vojta, c
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