It is estimated that 35% of adults in the United States have pre-diabetes, and if current trends continue, 1 in 3 will have diabetes by 2050. The U.S. spends more than $240 billion annually to treat diabetes. At The General, more than 4,500 patients fit the diagnosis of pre-diabetes by laboratory criteria. This number grows as you consider that anyone who is overweight, has a family history of diabetes or a personal history of gestational diabetes, may also be at high risk. The Foundation has awarded several grants over the years to support diabetes care, prevention and patient education at The General.

The Diabetes Center recently received a Hearts Grant to bring the YMCA’s successful Diabetes Prevention Program to the hospital’s campus. In a study published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine, lifestyle modification with modest weight loss through diet and exercise resulted in a 58% reduction in progression to diabetes (71% risk reduction for those over 60 years old). Since that trial, the program has been implemented through various YMCA sites nationally and early data continues to demonstrate significant weight loss achieved in the “real world” setting. The Foundation is proud to fund partnership efforts that support innovative public health care through programs at The General.

The goals of the year-long program are to reduce body weight by 7% and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Classes, which started in October, are offered in English and Spanish and take place at The General. A published analysis of the Diabetes Prevention Program has demonstrated high cost-effectiveness due to its ability to prevent or delay diabetes. The per-patient program fee is set nationally at $429, though the YMCA has offered generous financial assistance and payment plan options. Even with these accommodations, the cost could be a barrier for many patients and may keep them from committing to a program that could lead to a healthier future.

“Our work in treating patients to prevent the complications that can arise from poorly controlled diabetes is important, but we can make a greater impact by reaching patients earlier. With this grant we are now able to provide a proven diabetes intervention that targets the problem at the optimal time—before the diabetes ever starts,” states Elizabeth Murphy, MD, DPhil, Division Chief of Endocrinology.

Learn if you may be at risk for diabetes