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Urban Community Benefits From Diabetes Intervention


Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute (UPDI) have found that positive results can be achieved and sustained in the long-term through a healthy lifestyle intervention. The intervention focuses on healthy eating and physical activity in people at risk for diabetes and heart disease in an urban, underserved suburb of Pittsburgh. Findings are being presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Diabetes Association. Scientific sessions take place June 22-26 at the McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago.

“Previous research has demonstrated that people in underserved urban communities have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle interventions could help prevent diabetes and heart disease. However, there is very little research on the sustainability of improvements following lifestyle interventions designed to prevent diabetes and heart disease in these community settings. Therefore, we implemented a modified diabetes prevention program in an urban, underserved suburb of Pittsburgh to determine not only if the program was successful initially, but whether or not the improvements could be sustained in the long term,” said Mim Seidel, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., diabetes program manager for UPDI.

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), was the largest diabetes prevention trial conducted in the United States which demonstrated a 58% reduction in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes through intensive lifestyle intervention in people at risk for diabetes.

The successful DPP lifestyle intervention was adapted to a 12-week, group lifestyle balance program suitable for use in primary care practices and community settings. The program focuses on losing weight, healthy eating, and reducing the patient’s risk of diabetes and heart disease. Participants are encouraged to lose at least seven percent of their body weight and be physically active for at least 150 minutes a week.

For this particular report, researchers focused on 83 participants who are enrolled in a modified version of the DPP at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Braddock. The average age of participants was 54. Most were female and a quarter of them were African-American. Participants were invited to be reassessed every three months following completion of the 12-week intervention.

After the completion of the intervention, 45.9 percent of the participants lost at least five percent of their initial body weight. The weight loss was sustained in nearly one-half of the participants at their six-month reassessment and in one-third at their one-year reassessment.

“These results are impressive because this study is one of the few in the United States that demonstrated that improvements observed following a lifestyle intervention in a community-based setting can be sustained in the long-term,” said Gretchen Piatt, Ph.D., M.P.H., C.H.E.S., of the UPDI.

In addition to Seidel, and Piatt other authors include Robert Powell of UPMC Braddock.

The mission of the UPDI, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is to provide and support diabetes prevention, detection, education, treatment and research. The UPDI unites experts in endocrinology, patient and physician education, epidemiology, clinical care, health economics, behavioral science and rural medicine. One of the country’s few programs focusing on the translation of diabetes research into practice, the UPDI is dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art treatments to everyone with diabetes, and to those at risk. For more information, visit the UPDI website at


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