What Is a Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program and How Does It Work?

If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, it can be worthwhile to participate in a diabetes prevention program (DPP) to prevent type 2 diabetes.
What Is a Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program and How Does It Work?
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, it can be worthwhile to participate in a diabetes prevention program (DPP) to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. As you weigh your options for which DPP provider to choose, you may want to learn about a virtual DPP as well.

What Is a Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program?

In a virtual DPP, you participate in the DPP in a virtual setting rather than in in-person one. That could mean “attending” sessions via video chats, such as Zoom calls, using online forums, or logging into an app. In the case of Lark, the virtual DPP offers personalized coaching through a health app on your smartphone. 

Due to requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a virtual DPP must meet the same rigorous standards as any other DPP, such as a YMCA DPP. You can be sure that any CDC-recognized DPP:

  • Uses a standardized curriculum, such as Prevent T2 (type 2 diabetes) from the CDC
  • Asks you to set a goal of losing 5 to 7% of body weight
  • Promotes increased physical activity with a goal of at least 150 minutes per week
  • Provides support and coaching from a CDC-certified Lifestyle Coach

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While an in-person, traditional DPP includes group meetings that are weekly, biweekly, or monthly, a completely virtual DPP such as Lark has no group meetings. Instead, all participation in the DPP is via the Lark Health app. You can receive the curriculum, get feedback on nutrition, weight, and physical activity when you log and track them, and learn additional tips for turning healthy choices into habits. You can also interact with your digital Lark coach at any time.

Comparing a Virtual and In-Person DPP

A virtual DPP has many similarities to, and some differences from, a traditional in-person program.

Virtual DPP such as Lark Health App In-Person DPP such as YMCA
May be a covered benefit from your health insurance
May be a covered benefit from your health insurance
CDC’s Prevent T2 curriculum, plus daily check-ins and additional material to supplement Prevent T2
CDC’s Prevent T2 curriculum
Weight Loss Tracking
Via connected scales that sync automatically with the Lark DPP app
Weigh-ins, such as weekly or biweekly, during sessions.
Meal and Physical Activity Tracking and Feedback
Logging using smart features, with instant feedback within the Lark health app, as well as daily and weekly summaries
Logging using physical (pen and paper) food and activity logs, with the lifestyle coach reviewing them at group sessions
Lark health app developed by CDC Lifestyle Coaches and health experts in nutrition, physical activity, behavior change, and more.
Sessions led by certified CDC Lifestyle Coaches
Access to coaching
Unlimited, 24/7 access to private, personalized coaching on your smartphone
At sessions in group settings

How a Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program Works

Lark delivers the CDC Prevent T2 curriculum in weekly or biweekly missions, and supplements them with daily check-ins. You can access this content by opening the Lark health app frequently. 

You are also encouraged to log your meals and snacks, as well as your physical activity. If you have a connected scale as part of your program, you can be assured that your weight will be captured in the app whenever you step on the scale. 

If you have prediabetes or risk factors for type 2 diabetes, participating in a DPP can help with lifestyle changes to lower your risk of developing diabetes. You can learn the CDC curriculum while establishing healthy habits to last for years.

Some people may enjoy an in-person DPP because they enjoy the face-to-face interaction with their lifestyle coach and other participants in the program. For these people, a local YMCA that offers a DPP can be a good option. 

Other people may have trouble finding a program near them, or they may have trouble attending in-person meetings due to reasons such as scheduling conflicts or childcare needs. For these people, people who may want unlimited coaching and coaching during off-hours and weekends, and people who may feel reluctant talking about their personal health journey to others, a digital DPP may be more appropriate.

A DPP may be available to you at no cost if your health insurer includes it as a covered benefit. If you feel that an in-person DPP may be the right choice for you, you may want to check to see if your local YMCA offers one and if it is a covered benefit.

If a digital DPP such as Lark DPP sounds like it fits your lifestyle better, click or tap here to find out if you may be eligible to join. You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to starting your journey to manage prediabetes and improve health.