A Simple Program That Can Help Save Lives and Money


The CDC launched a program last year called “Prevent T2,” which was designed to help employers identify employees most at risk for diabetes. Unfortunately, today, few employers have heard of this program, let alone participate in it.
 
Employees who have diabetes cost companies twice as much as healthy employees. It’s a sad fact, but this group of employees are straining the healthcare system. Overall, the American Diabetes Association reports that diabetes costs the country roughly $245 billion a year in lost work, wages and medical costs.
 
Prevent T2 is an updated version of the 2002 Diabetes Prevention Program with new curriculum that directly tackles this diabetes epidemic. The curriculum contains new topics that promote long-term weight loss and healthier lifestyles. Course topics include “Get Active/Track Your Activity,” “Find Time for Fitness” and “Stay Active Home & Away.”
 
Research from the CDC shows that employees who complete Prevent T2 lower their chances of developing diabetes by 58 percent, and ultimately lowering healthcare costs, while improving the overall health of employees. That’s the same success rate as the original Diabetes Prevention Program.
 
After following the recommended sequence of topics for the first six months, lifestyle coaches—individual case managers—can now choose sequencing for months 7-12. The CDC decided to make the program more personalized, based on their data indicating that many participants were interested in or needed greater flexibility.
 
Prevent T2 has the same goals of achieving weight loss of 5% to 7% of their current weight. It also increases physical activity to 150 minutes per week over 12 months, in line with the HHS “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.” The updated curriculum also contains new literature on self-efficacy, physical activity, and diet at a sixth grade reading level.
 
In the past, it was always difficult for employers to identify which employees could benefit from prevention programs, like Prevent T2. That’s no longer the case.
 
The CDC now has an easy-to-use online tool that can help employers see who is at risk for diabetes and who should enroll in Prevent T2. This information is exempt from HIPAA for employers who are self-insured. This online CDC tool is a great opportunity to identify which employees may be pre-diabetic.
 
The tool asks seven questions that help employees see how big their risk is for developing diabetes. 86 million people – or more than 1 out of 3 Americans – have prediabetes. Only 1 out of 10 know they have it. 
 
By offering this online test to employees as part of a benefits package, employers can identify which employees will benefit the most from Prevent T2.


The ROI behind Wellness Programs
 
From a cost and return on investment standpoint, a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion shows employers do benefit financially by helping their employees become more aware of their health, notably when it comes to diabetes.
 
The average cost per year to treat one person with diabetes is estimated at $13,700, according to the CDC. In comparison, the CDC estimates the average cost of Prevent T2 program delivery to be about $500 per participant annually. Employers can talk to their health insurance carriers about covering a Prevent T2 program as a health benefit and then offer it to employees. 
 
More generally, a study by the American Journal of Health Promotion concluded the mean weighted ROI in workplace health promotion programs demonstrated a positive return — 138% to be exact.
 
Bringing Fitness Programs to the Workplace 
 
Research shows one of the biggest obstacles for employees completing programs like Prevent T2 is that they don’t have time or it’s not convenient. 
 
There are many wellness programs that work with Prevent T2, but Fitspot is the only wellness program that eliminates these obstacles by bringing Prevent T2 to the workspace. Tinder and Stamps.com are just a few companies that are making it easier for their employees to participate in healthy active wellness programs at work by using Fitspot.
 
But before employees can participate in Prevent T2, they need to become aware of how this program can improve their health. Pushing this simple online test to employees raises their awareness of whether they are at risk for diabetes. And if they are among the 84 million Americans who have prediabetes, this awareness is the first step in prevention.
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