Vets and Diabetes

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News April 2013

VA focuses on reducing the number of veterans who develop diabetes.

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Because approximately 24% of veterans have type 2 diabetes, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is serious about reducing the number of veterans who develop the disease.

VA has implemented a pilot version of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which targets obese individuals who have laboratory evidence of prediabetes.

DPP was a major multi-center clinical research study aimed at discovering whether modest weight loss through dietary change and increased physical activity or treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin could prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The study enrolled participants who were prediabetic — overweight and with blood glucose (blood sugar) levels higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Results showed those who lost a modest amount of weight through dietary changes and increased physical activity sharply reduced their chances of developing diabetes.

Through VA’s pilot program some veterans who are at risk for diabetes will attend a series of group sessions and will have predetermined weight-loss and physical-activity goals. Other veterans at risk for the disease will receive weight-management care through MOVE! — VA’s current weight-management program for individuals who are obese or overweight with obesity-related conditions.

VA wants to try new approaches to promoting health and preventing disease. Therefore, a limited number of veterans with prediabetes will participate in this pilot clinical program at the medical centers in Minneapolis, Baltimore, and greater Los Angeles. VA Ann Arbor is the coordinating center.

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