World Diabetes Day: Why Lifestyle Coaches Are the Key to Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Realizing DPP
December 21, 2022

The rise of Type 2 diabetes is alarming, but the good news is that we’re empowered to stop it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there were 422 million people worldwide with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. A 2017 paper in Population Health Management estimates that by 2030, 30% of people and 51% of all seniors will have prediabetes. Additionally, it projects that the number of people with diabetes will grow 54%, from 35,644,000 to 54,913,000, by 2030. 

As scary as that scenario is, the authors of the paper also state that programs like DPP can help prevent it from becoming a reality. There is much we can do to halt the progression of the disease, reverse a pre-diabetes or even Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, or prevent it altogether. 

Whether it’s adults struggling to stay healthy or the at-risk children that they’re raising, simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in preserving the quality of life and health. However, it takes a commitment to spread awareness and demonstrate how healthy choices are the key to living a healthy life.

Lifestyle coaches are among those changemakers who can make a positive difference in people’s lives. There is ample evidence from around the world to show how the methods used by lifestyle coaches can have a real, long-lasting, positive impact on their clients' lives. 

In this article, you’ll read about why awareness is key to tackling diabetes, how lifestyle coaches make a difference, and why. 

Spreading Awareness About Diabetes: World Diabetes Day

The first step to halting the rise of diabetes is awareness. Thankfully, organizations like International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have recognized this step by designating November 14 as World Diabetes Day (WDD). It's the largest campaign for diabetes worldwide and reaches over one billion people and 163 countries.

The theme for WDD 2021-2023 is access to care, and it aims to address the worldwide issue of accessibility to diabetes care, medication, technology, and support. Both those diagnosed with diabetes and the medical staff that treat them have significant gaps in these areas, including a lack of funding, which the government could help alleviate.

2022 has a sub-theme: education to protect tomorrow. A primary reason diabetes is on the rise is due to a lack of education about it. Many people with pre-diabetes go undiagnosed and don’t even know they have it until it's too late. Proper education for diabetics and their caregivers is essential. That’s why IDF created a new online learning platform to help those suffering from diabetes and their caregivers. 

Medical personnel and health educators can also benefit greatly from education. IDF’s School of Diabetes is designed for doctors, specialists, and educators to keep them up to date with the latest developments in understanding diabetes. IDF also offers free, downloadable promotional materials for anyone who wants to raise awareness about diabetes.

Raising Awareness for World Diabetes Day

Besides spreading awareness about the Medicare DPP plan, it’s important to raise diabetes awareness on or around World Diabetes Day. IDF advises showing solidarity and support by promoting the blue circle symbol of diabetes awareness in person and online. They recommend doing the following:

You can also have an impact by contacting the health minister and asking for more financial and human resources to support diabetes prevention. 

Even one small action can make a difference. Now is the time to raise local, national, and worldwide awareness for this largely preventable disease.

Raising Awareness for the Free Diabetes Lifestyle Change Program

Local efforts can serve as inspiration for other regions and countries. Mississippi is at the forefront of diabetes prevention because it’s one of the first states to have a statewide Lifestyle Coach workforce. Now, the Diabetes Coalition of Mississippi is driving further growth in diabetes prevention through a free year of access to lifestyle coaching for Medicare Part B beneficiaries under Medicare DPP.

An estimated 165,000 Medicare Part B beneficiaries have prediabetes, and most do not even know they have it. Potential participants can visit their enrollment page to check eligibility and sign up. It’s important that everyone who is eligible for this program can take advantage of it. You can do your part to spread awareness about it by sharing the enrollment page on your social media channels and emails or talking about it in person.

By making lifestyle coaching free & accessible, Medicare DPP is helping to achieve the goals of the 2021-2023 theme — to make resources more available to all. 

The Impact of a DPP Lifestyle Coach

Of course, the biggest way to make an impact is through direct support to those suffering from diabetes and prevention for those at risk. Lifestyle coaching can save lives and increase the quality of life for those with prediabetes.

There’s plenty of research confirming how effective the methods used by lifestyle coaches are. A clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC tracked 1,079 DPP program participants who underwent personal coaching, a 16-session curriculum, and supervised physical activity. The group had a 58% reduction in the rate of diabetes.

A 15-year follow-up study found that diabetes was reduced by 27% by the group that experienced intervention and said that “cumulative diabetes incidences” were 55% in contrast with 62% in the control group.

There’s also research from around the world that demonstrates lifestyle changes like those advised through DPP are effective. A 2021 study found that six months of health coaching program improved blood sugar levels by 0.62% and led to significantly better dietary choices, including the consumption of more fruits and vegetables, fewer carbs and fats, and an overall reduction in calorie-intake

Another important study looked at the effects of lifestyle intervention on patients who had impaired glucose tolerance or early-stage Type 2 diabetes. Researchers noted that shifts in diet and exercise improved symptoms. Over 50% of subjects with abnormal glucose levels lowered them to normal levels, and over 50% of people with early-stage diabetes were in remission six years later.

Beyond studies, there are also testimonials that report positive changes from the participants themselves! 

The Role of a DPP Lifestyle Coach

Why exactly is DPP lifestyle coaching effective? Coaches provide education, motivation, and accountability for participants to make lasting changes that can dramatically improve their health

In the first six months of the program, participants learn about making healthy eating choices, exercising regularly, managing stress, and staying motivated even during slip-ups. The second half of the program focuses on enhancing and solidifying these skills, including learning about the importance of habit tracking.

The year-long length gives participants enough time not just to learn new habits but also to truly ingrain them into their daily life. The program helps participants stay accountable over time, so they can truly see the benefits the program has on their lives. This can provide further motivation to keep going and stick with lifestyle changes even after the program ends. 

The group format also helps participants troubleshoot challenges that may interfere with lifestyle changes. Social determinants of health, like lack of access to safe spaces for exercising and affordable healthy food, can unfairly compromise participant success. There’s also the challenge of incorporating healthy eating into cultural foods, events, and holidays.

In these cases, the more minds, the better. Coaches and communities can help brainstorm solutions and spread awareness about opportunities like healthy food programs and at-home exercise resources.

Here are a few other examples of how a lifestyle coach might help participants make healthy changes:

  • Talk about affordable exercise routines, like YouTube videos and free classes
  • Share information about local activities that require being physically active
  • Address the impact of negative thinking  
  • Discuss how to eat out healthfully
  • Ask for group ideas around healthy approaches to cultural foods
  • Look at the impact of stress on the body

Additionally, DPP programs are available online, which means more people can participate and get on track to improving their health. By making this available, DPP is helping increase accessibility. Remove this paragraph.

Raising Awareness with Realizing DPP

November 14 is World Diabetes Day, the largest diabetes campaign on earth. The theme for 2021 - 2023 is accessibility. Unfortunately, access to education, medication, technology, and other resources is a big barrier to preventing and treating the disease. With global diabetes levels rising at alarming rates, there’s no time to lose when it comes to making treatment more accessible. 

Luckily, lifestyle coaching is a highly effective avenue to achieve the goal of accessibility. Plus, programs that focus on making healthy life changes, like DPP, have been widely shown to be effective. Being a lifestyle coach matters. But to make the biggest impact, you need a strong support network.

Be the best coach you can be and make an impact by joining the Realizing DPP Community today!