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Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013

This Week's News

Diabetes prevention program helping at-risk patients alter lifestyles

Diabetes prevention program helping at-risk patients alter lifestyles

A comprehensive, community-oriented approach to diabetes prevention is making headway in staving off the disease among at-risk patients, even as experts predict that as many as one-third of Americans could have diabetes by 2050 if trends don't change.

The YMCA of the USA is offering prevention classes for adults who have prediabetes at locations in nearly 90 metropolitan areas, where participants receive weekly evidence-based instruction from lifestyle coaches, according to a recent article in American Medical News. By teaching patients how to make lifestyle modifications, the program has helped participants lose an average of 4.9 percent of their body weight—a change that can slow down or possibly even prevent the progression to  diabetes, American Medical News reports.

The YMCA's program is scheduled to expand to more than 300 locations by the end of 2017. A $12 million grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation also will make the prevention program available for free to about 10,000 people enrolled in Medicare’s fee-for-service plan. In addition, 27 private health insurance plans cover the class fees.

As part of its Improving Health Outcomes initiative announced in the spring, the AMA is partnering with the YMCA of the USA to prevent the onset of diabetes among Medicare patients. The collaboration will establish a seamless process for physicians to refer patients to the diabetes-prevention program and for the YMCA to share information about patient progress that can be integrated into the patient's care plan.

The partnership with the YMCA is one component of the AMA's efforts to achieve specific improvements in the number of adults with blood pressure and blood sugar levels at recommended goals to improve outcomes around type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"When America's physicians work together with patients, local communities and other members of the health care team, we can have a tremendous impact on health outcomes," Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, AMA immediate-past president, said when he announced the partnership between the AMA and the YMCA of the USA.

By working with other health care and community leaders to prevent type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the AMA will help to make the future a healthier one for all Americans.