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A digital diabetes prevention program is highly effective in improving health outcomes for pre-diabetic individuals, with significant reductions in weight, HbA1c, and cardiovascular risk factors.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly worldwide, making it a significant public health concern. Weight loss is an effective strategy for preventing type 2 diabetes. However, traditional diabetes prevention programs (DPPs) have limited success in reaching underserved communities. Therefore, using technology-enhanced digital diabetes prevention programs (d-DPPs) may offer a more accessible and effective approach.

A randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine investigated the effectiveness of the technology and reported a significant potential for widespread dissemination and impact, particularly considering the growing demand for telemedicine in preventive healthcare services.

 d-DPPs Show Promising Results for Pre-Diabetics

This d-DPP significantly improved weight, HbA1c, and cardiovascular risk factors for pre-diabetic individuals after 12 months. Compared to a small group education (SGE) method, d-DPP participants lost more weight (5.49% vs. 2.09%) and achieved a greater reduction in HbA1c (0.23% vs. 0.16%). Additionally, a larger proportion of the d-DPP group achieved clinically significant weight loss and shifted from the prediabetes range to the normal range.

Effect of d-DPP on Cholesterol/HDL Ratio and HDL Levels

The cholesterol/HDL ratio was significantly lower after 12 months for those using the d-DPP compared to those using SGE. Additionally, the d-DPP group had higher HDL levels, while no other cardiovascular risk factors showed significant changes. The study found that higher engagement with the d-DPP was linked to greater weight loss and HbA1c reduction.

Effectiveness of d-DPP in Elderly Participants

According to the study, the d-DPP is more effective in reducing HbA1c and body weight in participants aged 65 and above than the SGE approach. The d-DPP group saw a significant HbA1c reduction of 0.25%, compared to 0.11% in the SGE group, and lost 5.83% of their initial body weight, compared to 2.07% in the SGE group

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Incidence of Serious Adverse Events in d-DPP and SGE Groups

The trial reported 149 adverse events, with 24 classified as serious adverse events (SAEs), mostly related to musculoskeletal and surgical issues. One SAE was related to low blood pressure due to weight loss. Of the 24 SAEs, 13 were unrelated to the study, 6 were possibly related, and 5 had insufficient information. The 6 possibly related SAEs were equally distributed among the d-DPP and SGE groups, and there was no difference in the number of events with unknown classifications between the two groups.

Source:

Katula, J. A., Dressler, E. V., Kittel, C. A., Harvin, L. N., Almeida, F. A., Wilson, K. E., Michaud, T. L., Porter, G. C., Brito, F. A., Goessl, C. L., Jasik, C. B., Sweet, C. M. C., Schwab, R., & Estabrooks, P. A. (2022). Effects of a Digital Diabetes Prevention Program: An RCT. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 62(4), 567-577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2021.10.023