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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Emory: Diabetes Status Report Shows Extremely Low Referral and Engagement in Prevention Programs

A new study published in JAMA Network Open finds that 14.5 percent of patients with diagnosed prediabetes take medication to lower glucose, but less than five percent were referred to diabetes prevention programs nationally.

Adults with a prediabetes diagnosis were more likely to receive lifestyle modification advice or referrals to programs from their health care professionals than patients at high risk of diabetes who don’t have a formal diagnosis. Over 80 percent of those who received medical advice followed the suggestions of their provider adopted positive lifestyle changes in the previous year. Dr. Mohammed K. Ali, associate professor at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, led the study with colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Our report is a wake-up call,” says Dr. Ali. “Seventeen years after the publication of trials showing that intensive lifestyle change programs for people with prediabetes can delay onset of type 2 diabetes by an average of seven years and lower other heart disease risk factors, nationally, less than 20 percent of people at risk of diabetes are referred to weight loss programs and less than five percent to designated diabetes prevention programs.”

The researchers analyzed data from the nationally representative, population-based cross-sectional National Health Interview Survey from 2016 and 2017, which included the responses of 50,912 nonpregnant individuals ages 18 or older representing 223 million American adults. Half of the 53.5 million overweight adults with high American Diabetes Association risk scores, but no prediabetes diagnosis, received some form of risk reduction advice, and of those, 33-75 percent followed their providers’ recommendations.

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