If you have prediabetes or are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, you may want to consider participating in a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). This national lifestyle change program is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it can help you learn a lot about making healthy choices to lower blood sugar.
If you qualify to participate in a CDC DPP based on your risk for diabetes or a diagnosis of prediabetes, you may be eligible to join at no cost to you if your health insurer offers it as a covered benefit. You may have the choice between joining an in-person program versus a digital DPP. They both have pros and cons, but it may be worth considering why 24/7 support can be critical to success in your diabetes prevention program.
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How a DPP Can Offer 24/7 Coaching
What kind of program lets you talk to your coach as much as you want, whenever you want, without an appointment? Coaching within a traditional, in-person DPP is limited due to the reliance on a human lifestyle coach. If you want to talk to your coach, you will probably need to expect one or more of the following.
- Connecting only during group meetings or other predetermined times
- Needing to make an appointment to talk outside of those times
- Hoping that a coach is available on an online platform when you need to talk
- Connecting with additional coaches if your usual one is unavailable
In contrast, a digital DPP is always available without an appointment. Plus, instead of being passed around from coach to coach based on availability, you can count on Lark to get to know you and learn your habits to offer more personalized coaching.
Health Coaching on Your Terms
Have you ever tried to talk to someone who is not focused on what you are saying? Have you ever been on the receiving end of that situation – that is, someone has tried to tell you something when you were preoccupied with something else? You probably did not absorb much from that conversation!
It is no different with health coaching. If you go to a DPP meeting when you are not in the mood, you may have trouble focusing on the lesson and participating in group discussions or other activities. That is not the best use of your time! This could happen for many reasons, such as if the meeting:
- Is after work and you are tired, hungry, or frustrated.
- Is being held at the only time of the day when you could have gotten in a workout.
- Is on a weekend when you desperately need to relax and gather yourself.
Lark DPP is a digital program that is available anytime and anywhere. That means you can get in a workout when you have the chance, go grocery shopping or go home to the kids after work, and relax when you need to on the weekend. You can log into Lark for some information or encouragement whenever you have time or feel like it, whether it is from work, late at night, or on the weekend.
Real-Time Health Coaching
With an in-person DPP provider, you can log your food and physical activity in a notebook and show them to your coach at your next meeting. That gives you the opportunity to receive feedback and a general push in the right direction.
In a virtual DPP that is available 24/7, you can log your food and physical activity anytime, and receive instant feedback. That can be helpful because the meal or workout you just logged is still fresh in your mind, so the suggestions and encouragement may feel more relevant and be more effective. Research in the journal Nutrients suggests that real-time feedback can be influential when it comes to food choices.
The Lark health app was created by experts in diabetes prevention, including in areas such as healthy eating, weight loss, physical activity, sleep, and behavior change. Health experts such as nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and behavioral health clinicians are behind every conversation in Lark to help you make healthy behavior changes.
What does it mean to prevent diabetes? If you are talking about diabetes prevention in a DPP, it means establishing healthy lifestyle habits. Developing habits takes practice and dedication, and frequent contact with your expert health coach can help. With 24/7 support through your smartphone, compared to checking in only weekly or biweekly in person, you have the chance to do the following.
- Practice logging meals and tracking physical activity, since self-monitoring is linked to better weight management
- Access DPP curriculum lessons
- Experience daily check-ins with additional coaching content
Using a virtual DPP is like having access to health experts anytime, anywhere, without an appointment. Frequent contact can increase accountability and can even help you prevent or get over plateaus.
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.
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