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Jill Hutt, vice president of member services at the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH), describes how the organization first became involved with the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program is available in person and online via CDC-approved vendors, said Jill Hutt, vice president of member services at the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH).
Can you explain the work of the GPBCH?
We work with employers in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware on improving workforce health and productivity and also working on deriving more value for the employers’ health benefits spend. In addition, we represent employers in improving transparency, quality, and safety in health care delivery.
What is the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)? How did GPBCH become invovled with it?
The National Diabetes Prevention lifestyle change program, otherwise known as the National DPP, is an evidence-based CDC-endorsed program that is proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and it was developed over a decade ago. In the program, participants learn to make healthy food choices, increase physical activity, and manage stress. And with these lifestyle changes, they can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%, for under age 60, and 71% for those 60 and older.
Outcomes have shown that just losing up to 5% to 7% of body weight can reduce hypertension and improve cardiovascular health as well as other conditions. An important point with this program is that it is available both in person and online through many CDC approved vendors nationwide. It works also because it is a full-year program that is comprised of weekly and monthly sessions.
How we got involved, our coalition, [is that] diabetes prevention and addressing obesity has always been a major focus for our coalition. We became involved in promoting the National DPP over 6 years ago, and recognizing that obesity is a top health issue for our employer members and their workforce because it’s a condition related to developing type 2 diabetes, we convened an obesity and diabetes prevention and management employer collaborative with the purpose of sharing research, hearing from thought leaders, sharing best practices, and identifying vendors. With the support of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, we engaged some of our employer members in conducting pilots to offer the National DPP which did yield some positive results, of course, including weight loss and improved lifestyle, and also some learnings on employee engagement strategies.
Our coalition continues to provide education and resources on the National DPP to employers. Currently, we are engaged with the Philadelphia Diabetes Prevention Collaborative, and also with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. Again, with the support of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors we’re currently promoting the National DPP to employers throughout the state of Delaware, working with partners such as chambers of commerce, benefits advisors, and others.