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Perceived Benefits and Barriers to the Diabetes Prevention Program

L. Nicole Johnson, DrPH, MPH, MA, Stephanie T. Melton, PhD, MPH, MA


Objective: Diabetes prevention interventions have a proven positive affect on health outcomes. The goal of this project is to understand the factors that motivate and deter people with prediabetes from utilizing evidence-based education programs, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).

Research Design and Methods: Formative research was conducted among program managers, health providers who care for diabetics, and patients living with prediabetes to generate an in-depth understanding of perceptions of the program. The methodology included a mixed methods approach. A total of 97 interviews and 5 focus groups were conducted with health providers, program managers and patients. An online survey was administered to 50 patients with pre-diabetes.

Results: All three populations agreed the DPP aided in implementing lifestyle changes and preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes and the classes provided a positive experience for support, in-depth discussion, and opportunities for learning how to make lifestyle changes. However, while the overall benefits of the program were expressed, there were barriers noted by all populations that affect program utilization and physician referrals. General lack of knowledge, cost of the program, and the significant time commitment necessary to complete the program were barriers discussed.

Conclusions: The Diabetes Prevention Program is successful in helping individuals with pre-diabetes make positive lifestyle changes. However, lack of knowledge about the program is a deterrent for utilization. Creation of a social marketing campaign designed based on the findings from this research will aim to increase health care providers referrals to the DPP.

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