Diabetes Prevention, Modernizing Care

CDC Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach

CDC Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Diabetes is taking a toll on the country’s healthcare system and economy. The condition affects 1 in 8 adults, is the seventh-leading cause of death and a common factor in heart disease and stroke, which are respectively the first and fourth causes of death, and can cause complications leading to blindness, amputations, and kidney disease. The estimated annual cost of diabetes is $237 in medical expenses, including 1 in 4 healthcare dollars. [1]

Medicare, Medicaid, and individuals pay for some medical costs, but leave about 33% of medical expenses to private insurers. Employers are further hit when considering that diabetes charges $90 billion each year in reduced productivity.

You are surely paying a lot for diabetes, but how much of that is necessary? What if there were a way to prevent or reduce the impact of type 2 diabetes that was proven to work and that you could offer to your covered population with minimal investment of time and money? 

There is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is a clinically proven lifestyle change program that can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes among participants with prediabetes or other risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Many providers offer a DPP, but Lark has a digital DPP with full CDC recognition. Lark DPP is a personalized lifestyle coach that is easy to implement and infinitely scalable.

What a Lifestyle Coach Does

A lifestyle coach helps people set and achieve goals in areas such as relationships, careers, family life, life balance, and health. A lifestyle coach for diabetes prevention might help patients set and achieve goals to make healthy lifestyle changes through digital therapeutics. For example, Lark DPP guides patients with prediabetes in establishing and pursuing weight loss and physical activity goals, along with other healthy behaviors, to lower diabetes risk. It is important to introduce DPP before prediabetes can progress into type 2 diabetes, which is irreversible. Many do not realize their risk, as diabetes symptoms can be hard to self-diagnose.


How DPP Prevents Diabetes

The DPP is a lifestyle intervention program offered by various providers who have met CDC Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) standards. Each CDC-recognized DPP includes the CDC Prevent T2 or another CDC-approved curriculum that focuses on setting and achieving goals of losing 7% of body weight and increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week.

Simple as these changes are, they are remarkably effective. The lifestyle intervention program with digital therapeutics that inspired the growth of the DPRP led to a 58% decrease in diabetes risk compared to a control group. [2] Other analyses have found a 16% reduction in diabetes risk for each kilogram decrease in body weight, and a 26% lower risk of diabetes among more active compared to less active individuals. [3, 4],

Losing weight and increasing physical activity are challenging for individuals to achieve on their own, but is critical, as obesity and diabetes are heavily correlated. Merely providing a curriculum for patients to read is not enough. Instead, the CDC requires DPP providers to utilize certified lifestyle coaches to back their programs. Lark DPP is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and backed not only by DPP lifestyle coaches, but also by experts in nutrition, exercise, and behavior change. Furthermore, Lark is available to patients 24/7 rather than solely at specified weekly sessions or by appointment only.

Weight loss and physical activity are effective, but additional lifestyle factors can lower risk. Increasing certain food types and limiting others as part of a prediabetes diet plan, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress are all important in diabetes prevention. Lark incorporates these elements into its DPP to promote further reduction of diabetes risk.

Your Covered Population at Risk

If you are assuming your workforce or covered population is “young and healthy,” and that diabetes is not a threat to them or to your bottom line, think again. While only 1 in 25 adults aged 18-44 have diabetes, diabetes affects 1 in 6 people aged 45-65 years. [5] This latter demographic comprises over half the workforce. [6] These numbers are important because each patient with diabetes is estimated to have medical costs that are 2.3 times higher than a patient without the condition. [7]

Adding to the concern are the risk factors of prediabetes, excess weight, and a history of gestational diabetes (diabetes that appeared during pregnancy and resolved after giving birth. A full third of American adults have prediabetes and are likely to develop diabetes within years if left untreated. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese and at higher risk for prediabetes and diabetes. And, between 4 and 9% of pregnancies include a diagnosis of gestational diabetes[8], and these women could have a risk of up to 60% for developing diabetes in their lifetimes[9].

Patients are eligible for the DPP if they have a diagnosis of prediabetes based on a lab test or if they had gestational diabetes. The CDC provides a Prediabetes Screening Test to determine DPP eligibility for any additional participants. Risk factors include family history of diabetes, older age, and obesity.


For example, someone with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 kg/m2 and an age of 45-64 years is considered at high risk for diabetes and is eligible to participate in a DPP.

A Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach that Meets Your Needs

Offering Lark DPP to your covered population may be the right next step for your business, company, or organization. The program can clearly benefit participants as they lower diabetes risk and make other health gains. Plus, as health improves, so can productivity.

The completely online lifestyle coach is available to participants on their smartphones anytime, anywhere, and with unlimited access. Each participant gets a personalized program powered by AI.

Payors also have clear reasons to choose Lark DPP. Because the program is virtual, there is no need to worry about the cost of hosting meetings for the year-long program. Lark DPP is infinitely and instantly scalable, allowing for your growth without limits. Lark arranges seamless start-up and promises performance-based billing, so you pay only for what you use.

With the burden of diabetes weighing on payors, the abundant science backing the DPP, and the readiness of Lark DPP as a lifestyle coach, the choice is clear. It is time to find out how to get started to offer a CDC DPP lifestyle coach