Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management


University of Chicago

Funding Area

Improving Diabetes Prevention and Management


March 11, 2015


This University of Chicago synthesis report, supported by NYSHealth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examines the evidence related to the health outcomes, long-term effects, implementation costs, and overall cost implications of existing diabetes prevention programs.

It is estimated that 86 million Americans—more than 1 out of 3 adults—have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at high risk for developing diabetes and its complications. While some risk factors for developing diabetes cannot be changed, research studies have shown that preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes can be achieved through lifestyle interventions that help participants change their eating and exercise habits to lose weight.

But is there enough evidence that these interventions can work in community-based settings, especially for those at highest-risk for diabetes such as racial and ethnic minorities? If community-based diabetes prevention programs do show promise for reducing participants’ risk of diabetes, how successful are these interventions in the long run? What are the program costs?

This synthesis identifies the full range of studies of existing community-based diabetes prevention programs; assesses the effectiveness of these programs for populations at highest risk for developing diabetes; and examines the implementation and ongoing costs of running these programs, especially compared with medication management programs.

The synthesis weighs the available evidence for the:

  • Types of community-based diabetes prevention strategies that have been evaluated in the peer-reviewed literature;
  • Effectiveness of community-based prevention interventions in reducing the risk or delaying the onset of diabetes;
  • Costs of community-based diabetes prevention programs; and
  • Limitations and gaps of the existing literature for diabetes prevention programs.

Read the accompanying policy brief highlighting key findings from the synthesis.

In a new Health Affairs blog post, NYSHealth President and CEO James R. Knickman and Chief Program Learning Officer Kelly Hunt weigh in on the report’s findings, including the need for substantially more public and private investments in diabetes prevention research and demonstrations. Read the blog post.