Vermont Department of Health - Diabetes Program and 1 more...less...


% of Health Service Areas that offer Diabetes Prevention Program workshops

23Q4 2021

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Story Behind the Curve

Last Updated: January 15, 2020

Author: Diabetes Program, Vermont Department of Health

Approximately one in three Vermonters are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes (have prediabetes). Ninety percent of those with prediabetes do not know that they have this manageable condition. Risks include being age 45 years or older, overweight, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, diabetes during pregnancy, or giving birth to a baby greater than nine pounds. The National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is an evidence-based workshop that has proven results in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes. It is offered in all of Vermont's 14 geographic health service areas, at no charge to participants. The initial phase of the program involves weekly, hour-long meetings for 16 weeks followed by a maintenance phase of monthly hour-long meetings for eight months. Participants focus on improving eating and physical activity behaviors during the group meetings at which facilitators monitor body weight and behavior logs (journals). Because prediabetes is prevalent statewide, organizations supporting the DPP believe that Vermonters need widespread access to this program on a regular basis. The performance measure's target is to have the 16-week portion of the program operating in at least 13 of the 14 health service areas (representing 93 percent of the state's service areas) each quarter. Each health service area works hard to schedule these classes and recruit people to attend. As the data show, the number of classes varies widely each quarter. This could be due to the length of the class cycle, time of year when new classes are started, impact of the time of year on class enrollment, etc. Department of Health staff work closely with the Blueprint for Health and community partners to promote these classes taking place in communities across Vermont.

  • Community Health Improvement  at the University of Vermont Medical Center and the Vermont Blueprint for Health are the key partners administering the program.
  • These organizations collaborate with VDH to establish high level strategies in marketing the program and increasing participation statewide. A key accomplishment of this collaboration is the Helping Yourself to Health website: where Vermonters can learn more about this and other self-management programs including the time and location of programs close by.
  •  Blueprint-funded Regional Coordinators in each health service area and their colleagues on Community Health Teams are also key partners; they assist primary care practices in utilizing community-based prevention and self-management programs like the DPP to accomplish the activities and goals of their patient-centered medical homes.
What Works

On the national front, the CDC has established partnerships with organizations including state health departments to expand the diabetes prevention program throughout the country. The evidence summarized in this link indicates that these programs are more effective than medical therapies in preventing or delaying diabetes. Because of the year-long commitment, it is difficult to accommodate people who are waiting to begin the initial 16-week phase. Vermont Department of Health provides support to the Diabetes Prevention Program via marketing, web services to connect Vermonters with programs, and other infrastructure such as recruitment of Vermonters to be trained as facilitators. Vermont Department of Health's target performance measure is to have at least one Diabetes Prevention Program running in its initial phase (the first 16 weeks) in every health service area during each reporting quarter.

Action Plan

During 2019 VDH staff will:

1. Work with Community Health Improvement to market and educate community, state and medical partners about the diabetes self-management programs.

2. Work with our Communications Coordinator and our marketing contractor to improve and market our self-management class website,

3. Continue to explore new means of making the Diabetes Prevention Program more accessible, including pursuing a web-based program. The first Diabetes Prevention Program web-based pilot program began in Washington County in May, 2019 and we are in the planning process for a statewide online program.

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