What is the National Diabetes Prevention Program?

Evidence-Based Programming for Diabetes Prevention

The National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) is a partnership of public and private organizations working to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The National DPP was created in 2010 to address the increasing burden of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. This national effort creates partnerships between healthcare providers and community-based organizations to offer evidence-based, cost-effective interventions that have proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes in communities. Organizations that implement a National DPP make it easier for people at risk for type 2 diabetes to participate in evidence-based lifestyle change programs to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Program hosts can be a partnership between:

  • Federal agencies
  • Employers
  • Public and private insurers
  • Healthcare clinics and professionals
  • Schools and Universities
  • Private Employers and Worksites
  • National and community organizations
  • Faith-based organizations

One key component of the National DPP is the CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, is a research-based and in person or online program focused to support healthy eating and physical activity for program participants. Studies have shown that people with prediabetes, who take part in a structured lifestyle change program and lose 5% to 7% of their body weight through healthier eating and 150 minutes of physical activity per week, can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old).

Goals of the National DPP

Through the National DPP, partner organizations must:

  • Agree to deliver a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program
  • Ensure quality and adherence to proven CDC Recognition Program Standards and Operating Procedures
  • Provide certified lifestyle coaches to effectively teach the program 
  • Increase referrals to and participation in CDC-recognized lifestyle change program

What Should National DPP Participants Expect?

CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs include 12 months of learning and support. In the first six months, participants will meet weekly for one hour to learn:

  • Healthy eating habits without giving up all the foods they love
  • How to incorporate physical activity into busy schedules
  • How to manage stress
  • Coping strategies for challenges that can derail their hard work—such as how to choose healthy food when eating out
  • How to get back on track if they stray from their plan

Find National DPPs Near You

Use the Well-Ahead Community Resource Guide to find National DPPs in your area.

In the second six months, participants will meet monthly for one hour to build on the skills they’ve learned and maintain their positive changes.

Why Start a National DPP?

About 1 out of 3 American adults has prediabetes—that’s 88 million people. People with prediabetes are at higher risk of heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes puts people at risk for many serious health problems. Implementing a National DPP can provide people with prediabetes the tools and resources needed to prevent their conditions and lower their risk of other chronic diseases.

The program focuses on life-long changes to certain habits and behaviors, which helps participants maintain a healthier lifestyle over time. A 10-year follow-up study showed that participants were still one-third less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Those who did develop type 2 diabetes delayed the onset of the disease by about 4 years.

Any type of community-based organization, worksite, clinic or hospital can start a National DPP and apply for CDC recognition. The most successful programs are linked with healthcare facilities, where providers refer patients directly to the partnering NDPP. Referring patients to a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program helps reinforce the important advice providers give during patient visits and their increased knowledge saves time during office visits.

Consider offering a virtual option for your National Diabetes Prevention Program to expand your reach and improve participant access.

How to Start a National DPP

When implementing a National DPP, the program must be recognized as a lifestyle change program by the CDC. In order to be a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, the organization or provider facility must meet certain CDC standards and effectively deliver a proven diabetes prevention lifestyle change program. These standards include following an approved curriculum, facilitation by a trained lifestyle coach, and submitting data every 6 months to show that the program is having an impact.

  • Step 1: Implementation and Steps
    • Gain leadership buy-in
    • Determine program details and gather program benefits to build high level team within the organization to support and implement the program
    • Engage stakeholders
    • Review and document program goals
    • Plan program phases and timeline
  • Step 2: Complete the Organizational Capacity Assessment
    • Assessing your organization’s capacity will identify areas that may need to be enhanced, prior to applying for CDC DPRP recognition, to ensure the organization is able to sustain the program long term.
    • Take the assessment here.
  • Step 3: Select a Curriculum

    Your organization must use an approved curriculum that meets the CDC requirements for recognition. You may choose a CDC-developed curriculum or create your own curricula. Newly developed curriculums must be submitted, reviewed, and approved by CDC prior to its use. Visit this page and learn about curriculum requirements and download a CDC-developed curriculum in English or Spanish.

  • Step 4: Staff Training

    CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs must have Lifestyle Coaches who are trained to use a CDC-approved curriculum and who have the knowledge and skills to effectively deliver the program. The Lifestyle Coach’s ability to support participants, provide guidance, and help groups work together effectively is essential for a successful lifestyle change program.

    If your organization needs training for your Lifestyle Coaches, there are currently 12 different training entities that can help. They have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CDC to provide training. Some of these training entities can also provide training for Master Trainers.

    Approved Lifestyle Coach and Master Trainer training entities:

    • American Association of Diabetes Educators, Diabetes Prevention Program
    • Black Women’s Health Imperative
    • Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center
    • J Moss Foundation
    • Magnolia Medical Training Group
    • Solera Health
    • SparkPro
    • State of Wellness
    • Telligen
    • CS-3 Temple University
    • Touro University California Training
    • Virginia Center for Diabetes
  • Step 5: Promotion, Marketing and Recruitment

    The CDC and its partners have developed a suite of materials to help you promote your lifestyle change program to employees, employers, and insurers. For promotional materials visit their site here.

    As you work towards establishing the lifestyle change program, be sure to:

    • Think about where you will market your program, who you will target, when you need to start promoting, etc.
    • Brand your program
    • Formulate a marketing plan
    • Create a communication strategy
  • Step 6: Apply for Recognition

    The CDC welcomes all organizations with the capacity to deliver a yearlong lifestyle change program and meet the 2018 DPRP Standards to apply for recognition. To apply for recognition, an organization should complete the online application.

    Before an organization applies, leadership and staff should read the Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program Standards and Operating Procedures that describe the quality data measures CDC-recognized organizations are expected to collect and submit to CDC for purposes of achieving CDC recognition. The Standards also explain how an organization may apply for, earn, and maintain CDC recognition.

  • Step 7: Data and Reporting

    To maintain CDC recognition, lifestyle change programs must submit evaluation data every 6 months. These data include factors such as participant demographics, attendance, weight loss progress, and physical activity. CDC will provide you with a report after every data submission that outlines your progress toward full recognition. The CDC Recognition Program Standards and Operating Procedures contain detailed information about data to be gathered and procedures for submission. CDC will send your organization/facility a reminder about a month before data are due.

    The full-length National DPP Data Entry Webinar: “Submit for Success!” gives CDC-recognized organizations an overview of the CDC Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) data entry and submission process. The webinar provides information about reporting timelines, steps to complete and save the data collection spreadsheet, instructions for uploading the file to the CDC’s DPRP data submission website and tips on avoiding common data errors and getting help with data questions.

    For more information on Submitting Evaluation Data to the DPRP, click here.

Insurance Information for Employers and Medicare

Employers and insurers that cover the program as a health benefit are working towards the efforts of improving the health of their population. Organizations invested in their employee’s health know how diabetes impacts the workplace, affecting an employee’s health and well-being and ultimately the employer’s bottom line. The Coverage Toolkit allows you to explore resources around covering the National DPP.

Eligibility Requirements for Participants

To be eligible for referral to a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, participants must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be overweight (body mass index above 24, or 22 if you are Asian)
  • Have NOT been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • NOT be pregnant

In addition, a participant must meet one of the following criteria (unless they are enrolling in a program covered by Medicare):

  • Have had a recent blood test in the prediabetes range, which includes one of the following tests and results: (a) hemoglobin A1C: 5.7–6.4% or (b) fasting plasma glucose: 110–125 mg/dL or (c) two-hour plasma glucose (after a 75 gm glucose load): 140–199 mg/dL.
  • Have received a result of high risk for type 2 diabetes on the Prediabetes Risk Test
  • A doctor previously diagnosed the participant with gestational diabetes.

If a participant is enrolling in a program covered by Medicare, the participant must have had a recent blood test in the prediabetes range, which includes one of the following tests and results: (a) hemoglobin A1C: 5.7–6.4% or (b) fasting plasma glucose: 100–125 mg/dL or (c) two-hour plasma glucose (after a 75 gm glucose load): 140–199 mg/d.

Join LaDEN Prevents and Receive Technical Assistance!​

The Louisiana Diabetes Educators Network Prevents Type 2 Diabetes (LaDEN Prevents) is comprised of National DPP coordinators and lifestyle coaches. Well-Ahead provides professional support and development to National DPP coordinators and lifestyle coaches through peer dialogue calls, webinars and trainings. 

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  • Measure, Act, Partner to prevent type 2 diabetes, physicians and care teams can use this document to determine roles and responsibilities for identifying adult patients with prediabetes and referring to diabetes prevention programs.
  • The American Medical Association (AMA) Prevention Toolkit provides tools and resources for the healthcare team, such as billing codes, information on how to optimize your electronic health record for diabetes prevention, and fact sheets about prediabetes and the National DPP. Healthcare teams can use these materials, developed by the AMA, to help prevent type 2 diabetes by referring patients to an in-person or online CDC-recognized lifestyle change program.
  • Referral form to a diabetes prevention program can be utilized to refer interested participants to a National DPP lifestyle program.
  • The Lifestyle Change Program Details provides more information about what a lifestyle change program is like for your patients and what they can expect participating.
  • Refer interested participants to take our prediabetes risk test to find out if they are at-risk for diabetes.