New films showcase leading Type 2 diabetes programmes in US and England

The USA and England have joined forces on two films for healthcare professionals to show how they are reducing the combined 90million people living in their countries collectively who are on-track to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Top experts from both sides of the Atlantic shared tactics to reduce the 86 million Americans and 5million people in England at increased risk of developing the disease which can cause blindness and amputation.

The countries are two of just a handful running evidence-based diabetes prevention programmes and plan to learn from each other’s successes and trials.

Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is run collaboratively by NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK.

England was the first country to implement a national evidence-based diabetes prevention programme at scale which launched fully in March. Type 2 diabetes costs the NHS £9bn a year.

In the same month, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that a successful demonstration project led by the YMCA of the USA had been shown to produce cost savings for Medicare participants, marking a critical step for HHS to eventually expand the Diabetes Prevention Program for those at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.

In the US, the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2012 was $245 billion; $176 billion was in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji from London, England and Dr Matt Longjohn from Kalamazoo, Michigan in the US participated in the Medscape interviews to help healthcare professionals across both countries understand more about the available resources for their patients and how they can help reduce their risks of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Prof Valabhji, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a tidal-wave threatening to swamp England and also America. To be able to spread the message of what we are doing in England and the USA and for others to learn from our experience is invaluable

“The US programme and ours have many similarities but also many differences and therefore we will be watching carefully to see how our results vary and how our approach can be adapted to make it more successful.”

Healthier You: the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme will start this year across England with a first wave of 27 areas covering 26 million people, half of the population, and making up to 20,000 places available.

This will roll-out to the whole country by 2020 with an expected 100,000 referrals available each year after.

Those referred will get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes including education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, all of which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

In the US, more than 44,000 participated in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, losing an average of 5.5 per cent of their body weight.

A trained lifestyle coach helps adults through 25 one-hour group sessions delivered in a classroom setting over the course of a year where they discuss behaviour changes that can help them reduce their risk of developing diabetes. On average, DPP participants lose 5-7 per cent of their body weight and increase their physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

Research has shown that the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the number of new cases of |Type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 per cent and by 71 per cent among adults aged 60 or older compared to those not receiving the intervention.

Dr Longjohn said: “For over 160 years, the Y has been bringing people together to address community issues. Over that long history, our programs have been promoting healthy spirit, mind, and body by bringing people together in groups to address their personal challenges. That is really the secret sauce of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. It is bringing groups of people together who have similar risk profiles, and who are struggling every day to get more physically active and eat healthier. In this program, they support one another through this process.

“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have demonstrated that CDC-recognized DPPs are more effective and cost effective than other medical or therapeutic alternatives. And now, with the certification announcement made by the HHS in March, the YMCA’s community-based Diabetes Prevention Program will soon be covered by Medicare, making it even more accessible and affordable for Americans across the country.”

There are currently 2.8 million people with Type 2 diabetes in England with around 200,000 new diagnoses every year. While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is often preventable through lifestyle changes.

In England, one-in-six people in hospital have diabetes, and while diabetes is often not the reason for admission, they often need a longer stay in hospital, are more likely to be readmitted and are at a higher risk of death.