Translating the Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Intervention to the Military Setting

M. Kaye Kramer*, Susan C. Agee, Rachel G. Miller*, Vincent C. Arena, Karl K. Vanderwood, Yvonne L. Eaglehouse*, Elizabeth M. Venditti, Andrea M. Kriska*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Diabetes and obesity pose a significant burden for the U.S. military beneficiary population, creating a great need to provide evidence-based diabetes and obesity prevention services for military personnel, retirees, and their dependents. Despite increasing dissemination of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) lifestyle intervention nationwide, formal evaluation of implementation of this highly successful program is limited in the military setting. The purpose of this study is to prospectively evaluate delivery of a direct adaptation of a 1-year DPP lifestyle intervention at a U.S. Air Force medical facility, Wright-Patterson Medical Center (WPMC), to determine the feasibility of delivery of the program in a group of at-risk active duty military, retirees, and family members, as well as assess effectiveness in improving weight and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Materials and Methods: A pre/post study design was utilized to evaluate feasibility and effectiveness of the DPP Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB), an up-to-date, 22-session direct adaptation of the DPP curriculum, at WPMC. Participants chose to complete the 1-year program either in coach-led face-to-face groups or via DVD with weekly telephonic coach contact. The study was approved by the University of Pittsburgh and WPMC Institutional Review Boards. Results: A total of 99 individuals enrolled in the study, with 83 (84%) and 77 (78%) completing 6- and 12-month follow-up assessments, respectively. The mean age of participants at baseline was 57 (range 20-85 years), with 63% being female. The group was comprised of individuals who were non-Hispanic White (73.7%), non-Hispanic Black (18.2%), and other race or Hispanic ethnicity (8.1%). Within this group, there were 10 active duty military, 37 retirees, and 52 family members. The DPP-GLB program was shown to be feasible to implement in this military healthcare setting as demonstrated by the high engagement over the course of the year-long program. Significant improvements were shown in the two main behavioral goals: mean weight (-12.8 lbs, -6.3%, P < .001) and mean physical activity (PA) (+18.9 Met-hrs/wk, P < .001). In addition, significant improvements in other diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting insulin, diastolic blood pressure, and waist circumference were noted, as well as improvement in health-related quality of life. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that the DPP-GLB program delivered via face-to-face groups or DVD was feasible and effective in improving weight, PA levels, and diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in this group of active and retired military personnel and their family members. The program was well received by the program participants as well as the WPMC team. These findings offer a model for provision of the DPP-GLB program throughout the Military Health System.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1045
Number of pages10
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 May 2023
Externally publishedYes


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