News release: Prediabetes program sees positive weight loss results in Minnesota

News Release
September 13, 2016

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Prediabetes program sees positive weight loss results in Minnesota

Diabetes prevention summit in Minneapolis Sept. 13 and 14

A group of more than 100 leaders will come together this week to further expand the Diabetes Prevention Program that has helped Minnesotans at risk for diabetes lose an average 5 percent of their body weight.

Minnesotans can access the program across the state in community, healthcare and employer settings. Through June of this year, 3,111 Minnesota adults who had a diagnosis of prediabetes or a history of gestational diabetes lost an average of 5 percent of their body weight after one year in the program, according to data reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s heartening to see Minnesota embracing this preventive approach that addresses the threat of Type 2 diabetes in our community,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “Combining programs like this one with broader community changes supporting healthy lifestyles and living conditions is how we can prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes and reduce expensive medical care costs.”

The Diabetes Prevention Program is designed for people who do not have Type 2 diabetes but are at a high risk of developing the disease, especially people with prediabetes and a history of gestational diabetes. About 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes. This means as many as 1.5 million adult Minnesotans may have prediabetes.

Led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Diabetes Prevention Program is a structured program—in person or online—developed specifically to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

A trained lifestyle coach leads the program to help participants change certain aspects of their lifestyle, like eating healthier, reducing stress, and getting more physical activity. The program also includes group support from others who share similar goals and struggles.

Reaching the 5 percent target is significant because research shows people who eat a healthy diet, increase their physical activity and lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight can cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by about half. People with prediabetes (or those with high blood sugars that are not quite in the diabetes range, or those who have a history of gestational diabetes during pregnancy) have increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

Employer successes

Some Minnesota employers offering the program are seeing positive results. Marvin Windows employs more than 5,000 people across Minnesota, Virginia, and other states. Marvin wanted to continue its tradition of offering benefits that improve employee health and address healthcare costs. Marvin made the Omada Program – a digital Diabetes Prevention Program and one of many Diabetes Prevention Program providers – available to all eligible employees. The program equips workers with a cellular scale, digital pedometer, adaptive curriculum, personal health coach and peer group for support and accountability. To date, the company has enrolled more than 500 employees. They have averaged more than 5 percent weight loss 16 weeks into the program.

The State of Minnesota started offering the same program to its employees in 2015. During the first year, more than 5,000 participants lost more than 41,000 pounds, according to the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget (MMB), which operates the State Employees Group Insurance Plan (SEGIP).

The average annual medical cost for a person without diabetes is $4,700. Diabetes increases that cost to $11,700, and diabetes with other complications or conditions averages $20,000 annually. SEGIP projects that over the next ten years members with prediabetes could have potentially preventable costs of $120 million associated with developing diabetes.

Reducing health care costs

Preventing diabetes is a key strategy for improving public health and reducing health care costs. Diabetes is at an all-time high in Minnesota. In 2014, about 340,000 Minnesotans said they had a diagnosis of Type 1 or 2 diabetes. The disease is estimated to cost Minnesota about $2.3 billion a year in additional medical costs related to diabetes, according to 2012 data. Without intervention, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to increase in Minnesota and nationally.

Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program has been an early adopter of the prevention program. This year the Minnesota Department of Human Services announced that health care providers could be reimbursed for offering the Diabetes Prevention Program to Minnesota Health Care Program fee-for-service enrollees.

Medicare recently announced that it will offer the Diabetes Prevention Program to beneficiaries in 2018. This move followed a successful pilot study that included Twin Cities residents referred to the Diabetes Prevention Programs offered through the YMCA, one of many community-based providers.  Analyses of outcome data suggested that participation in the program would be cost-saving to Medicare.

The Building Minnesota’s Diabetes Prevention System Engagement Meeting at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center is a call to action to reduce the prevalence of diabetes in Minnesota by increasing access to the proven Diabetes Prevention Program for people at greatest risk for developing the disease. The event is being held by Minnesota Diabetes Collective Impact Executive Team in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.  


Media inquiries:

Scott Smith
MDH Communications