Programs and Initiatives in Communities Lifestyle Coach Training for the National Diabetes Prevention Program

Programs & Initiatives in Communities
Lifestyle Coach Training for the Diabetes Prevention Program

Well-trained and dedicated Lifestyle Coaches are essential for participants to get the most out of lifestyle change programs. Lifestyle Coaches receive intensive training to facilitate behavior change, stress management, and to aid participants in developing peer support networks with fellow program participants. Lifestyle coaches aren’t just found in health care, they also work in other settings like workplaces or community-based organizations.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Diabetes Unit trains Lifestyle Coaches to deliver the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) around the state.

Diabetes Prevention Program

The DPP is a cost-effective, proven program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The DPP helps participants make real lifestyle changes like eating healthier, including physical activity in their daily lives, and improving problem-solving and coping skills.

The DPP is a one-year program where participants meet once a week for 16 weeks, then once a month for the remainder of the year to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Led by a trained Lifestyle Coach, participants learn with others in the program to gain the skills needed to make lasting changes.

What does a DPP Lifestyle Coach do?

They work to help participants to:

  • Lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight – that’s losing 10 to 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds
  • Increase their physical activity to 150 minutes per week – you can get in 15 to 30 minute chunks
  • Develop problem solving and coping skills – such as learning how to manage stress eating
  • Connect and learn about healthy eating and physical activity opportunities in your community
  • Learn how to track the foods you eat and your level of physical activity throughout the program year

Why become a lifestyle coach

There are many reasons people become lifestyle coaches. Some have worked in healthcare venues that treat patients with chronic disease, while others have personal experience seeing a friend or family member work through the burden of type 2 diabetes. Whatever the reason, lifestyle coaches have passion for helping people live healthier lives. They possess strong interpersonal and group facilitation skills in order to create an environment where participants thrive and grow.

“The best thing about being able to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with [the] DPP is the fact that it allows people to be proactive in preventing disease, and live a healthier life while practicing healthy lifestyle habits for themselves and their families”

- Arlene RD, LD, Westside Community Health Services

Image of Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coaches training

Lifestyle Coaches training

It is important that lifestyle coaches are trained properly to ensure that the key elements of the program are delivered as designed, in order to give participants the tools they need to adopt lifestyle changes. 

The MDH led Lifestyle Coach Training aims to:

  • Increase the number of Lifestyle Coaches, in order to grow and spread the DPP across the state
  • Create a more culturally-diverse  DPP workforce  to better relate  to Minnesota’s vast array of cultures
  • Equip coaches to successfully run their own program, with tools such as:
    • Small group facilitation techniques
    • Strategies to encourage change and group engagement
    • Lesson checklists
    • Logs to track the progress of their participants
    • Logs and tracking tools for participants to track their own progress
    • Facilitation guide with tips and talking points for each lesson
    • Program implementation guidelines and suggestions
    • Program cost estimate
    • Opportunity to meet new Lifestyle Coaches in your community

Master Trainers

The Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC) at Emory University trains and prepares individuals to serve as Master Trainers. Master Trainers are highly-qualified individuals who may provide Lifestyle Coach Training within their own organization and to partners. This allows for greater sustainability within large organizations or systems that is delivering the DPP lifestyle change program.

MDH’s Diabetes Unit has two Master Trainers on staff that partner with local organizations and individuals to train lifestyle coaches.  They provide the skills, knowledge and experience need to successfully facilitate the lifestyle change program.

Funding and partners

  • Funding for Lifestyle Coaches training is from the CDC, the Community Wellness Grant and the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP)
  • SHIP has partnered with the Diabetes Unit to created awareness and training around the DPP, causing an increase in people seeking out Lifestyle Coaches training
  • Local public health, clinics, and community organizations partner with the Diabetes Unit to host and send participants to Lifestyle Coaches training

For more information

To learn more about the DPP check out the Diabetes Prevention and Management Programs – Diabetes Prevention and Management Programs

To learn more about Lifestyle Coaches training, please contact Amy Michael at