Programs and Initiatives in Communities We Can Prevent Diabetes

Programs & Initiatives in Communities
We Can Prevent Diabetes Research Study

Delivering the DPP to Medicaid Populations

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), conducted a study to test the effects of incentives on attendance and weight loss among Medicaid recipients taking part in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) funded the study through a five-year, $10 million grant. The primary goals were to:

  • See what effect financial incentives had on Medicaid participants’ weight loss and attendance
  • Learn how to successfully recruit Medicaid participants in the DPP

The burden of diabetes in low-income populations

An estimated 37 percent of American adults have prediabetes, a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. Without intervention, 15 to 30 percent will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

Overall, 7.4 percent of Minnesota adults have diabetes, but rates are higher if adults are older, overweight or obese, completed less education or have household incomes less than $35,0001.

DPP background

The DPP is a proven lifestyle change program that aims to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The program emphasizes healthy eating and physical activity with an end goal of 5 to 7 percent weight loss among participants. MDH has been actively working on increasing access to the DPP since 2008.

We have seen better attendance and weight loss results through the DPP by addressing barriers such as literacy and language, in addition to socioeconomic barriers.

We provided tools such as scales and measuring cups, and offered materials in different languages. Additionally, we provided assistance around transportation and childcare, and provided incentives in the effort to maximize weight loss and attendance.

The study and its results

Through the study2, we enrolled 1,154 participants into 98 groups. Among the 847 attending at least one DPP session:

  • 71.2 percent were women
  • The average age was 48.3 years old
  • 79.3 percent were obese
  • 87.6 percent entered the study with an elevated HbA1c or fasting plasma glucose

Participants’ primary languages were:

  • English (72.4%)
  • Somali (21.0%)
  • Hmong (3.1%)
  • Spanish (2.2%)

We engaged health care systems and participants to help identify successful strategies for recruitment and how best to support DPP participants in making lifestyle changes. This included:

Key lessons

  • Many participants reported making healthier food choices and increasing their physical activity after participating in the DPP
  • We identified successes and areas of opportunity for recruitment, sustaining participation and supporting patients’ success in making lifestyle changes
  • Involvement of a primary care provider is crucial – participants who had a provider referral were more likely to enroll and stay engaged
  • Clinic partnerships benefit everyone; in an effort to cut down on wait time to start a class, clinics referred participants to other clinics that had classes starting sooner or classes that were culturally appropriate
  • Cultural barriers still made recruitment and engagement difficult
  • In some communities, diabetes is not well understood and prevention is not part of routine medical care, so it was important to have tailored communication materials
  • Additional results on effects of incentives on attendance and weight loss are coming soon

1Minnesota Department of Health (2016). Income, employment and diabetes in Minnesota. Accessed 11/20/17.

2 Desai J. et al.  Financial incentives for diabetes prevention in Medicaid population: Study design and baseline characteristics.  Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Feb;53:1-10.