The University of Arizona's Diabetes Prevention Program has received full recognition from the Centers for Disease Control, a designation reserved for programs that have effectively delivered a quality, evidence-based program of education and lifestyle changes to help participants prevent type 2 diabetes.
The Diabetes Prevention Program operates as part of the university's Cooperative Extension service, a statewide network of knowledgeable faculty and staff that provides lifelong educational programs for all Arizonans in areas ranging from animal husbandry, to business development, to nutritional sciences. The free, 12-month program is available in seven counties across the state, teaching practical skills like reading food labels, preparing healthy foods, and starting an exercise routine, among others.
The new CDC recognition makes the program eligible to become a diabetes prevention provider for Medicare and get reimbursed for its services, which in turn helps keep the program free for Arizona's underinsured and uninsured populations.
"The need for programs like these is huge in Arizona, but specifically in places that are underserved," says program director and Nutritional Sciences assistant professor Vanessa da Silva. "In Arizona, we estimate that there are about 2 million adults that are at high risk for developing diabetes. It's a huge problem."
According to the CDC, individuals who participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. That number climbs to 70% for seniors, who make up a large proportion of program participants.
"Over 50 people have completed the program since we started in June of 2018," says da Silva. "We have over 80 more participants currently enrolled, and next year we will be expanding into two new counties."
Find out how the Diabetes Prevention Program is impacting community members in this article from the Arizona Daily Star, published in September.
For more information about the program, or to find a DPP educator in your area, click here.