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University of Utah Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program Receives Full Recognition From the Centers for Disease Control

SALT LAKE CITY – University of Utah Health's Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) now is fully recognized by the Centers for Disease Control. The program is only the third in the state to receive the recognition and the first that is open to the general public.

"We are so proud to receive this recognition," said Robin Marcus, PhD, Chief Wellness Officer for University of Utah Health. "We are hoping that it will make the program more visible to the community and keep more people from suffering from diabetes."

In order for a program to become fully recognized by the CDC a number of criteria have to be met. Not only does the program have to demonstrate it uses curriculum that is CDC approved, but it also has to show that those implementing the curriculum are properly trained. They also must document for more than one year the progress of the program's participants and provide proof that the program is helping them prevent diabetes.

"This is a project three years in the making," said Robin Marcus, PhD, Chief Wellness Officer for University of Utah Health. "But we have trained the right people, and we have shaped our curriculum to both satisfy the CDC and help participants make real lifestyle changes that have improved their health."

The DPP is centered on helping those who have prediabetes avoid getting diabetes by making changes like changing eating habits and increasing physical activity. But it is also more than that. Coaches in the program help participants identify and overcome barriers that have kept them from making healthy choices in the past.

"We look for participants to lose at least five percent of their body weight during the year long program and perform 150 minutes of physical activity a week," said Marcus. "But this isn't just about weight loss. It's about adapting a lifestyle they can maintain moving forward."

In the past our DPP has enrolled around 100 participants each year. A generous donation from the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation is keeping the cost at a minimum for current participants. Now the hope is to get even more people involved. "Prediabetes affects nearly 80 million people in the U.S." said Marcus. "If we can keep even a fraction of those from actually getting diabetes we will not only reduce health care costs, but also save lives."