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During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity and subsequently in diabetes, currently affecting more than 8.3% of the US adult population, with the highest prevalence (26.9%) among those aged 65 years or older. People with prediabetes are more likely to develop diabetes. Risk factors for developing diabetes include genetic susceptibility; however, most other factors such as high LDLs, hypertriglyceridemia, and hypertension are modifiable through eating and exercising habits.

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Study Design, Setting, Participants, and Intervention

The Healthy Habits Program (HHP) is a pre/post 5-week intervention with a 6-month follow-up session developed utilizing the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) guidelines to prevent diabetes and its chronic complications. Fifteen HHP's were offered to older adults with prediabetes or high risk for diabetes in southwest Michigan communities (n=45).

Outcome, Measures and Analysis

A paired t-test was used to determine differences for pre/post weight and nutrition knowledge. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to determine the differences for pre/post behavior measures.


Participants lost an average of 3.2 lbs (p<0.001). Participants showed a significant increase in: nutrition knowledge (p =0.031), frequency of eating vegetables (p=0.018), and frequency of engaging in vigorous physical activity (p=0.026). No significant changes were found in eating fruits and whole grains or in moderate physical activity.

Conclusions and Implications

This pilot intervention among older adults demonstrates the feasibility of translating the NDPP in a community setting and serving one of the most vulnerable community groups by providing them with knowledge and behavior change tools to prevent or delay the onset of type II diabetes. Follow-up sessions are currently being conducted.


Allen Foundation

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