Employers Can Lower Diabetes Risk

by Denise de la Rama

According to the CDC, the average business owner spends roughly twice as much on employees with diabetes as on healthy employees. But those costs are shrinking thanks to a little-known and rarely used wellness program that was designed to help employees get healthier.

The latest version of the CDC’s Diabetes Prevention Program, Prevent T2, was launched last year by the CDC to prevent or delay Type-2 diabetes, which is often much more serious in maintaining and living with, and often requires special equipment, diabetic socks for men and women, clothing, etc. The program is frequently covered by insurance, so the cost to employers is minimal. Sadly, many employers still don’t know about it or the incredible impact Prevent T2 can have on its workforce.

Prevent T2 is already proven to help employees get healthier — employees who complete Prevent T2 lower their risk of developing diabetes by 58 percent while their healthcare costs and absenteeism decline.

Why Prevent T2 is Frequently Overlooked

It has always been difficult for employers to identify which employees were most at risk for diabetes. As a result, employers have struggled to help the employees who could benefit most from this wellness program.

But now, thanks to Prevent T2, employees can more easily identify if they are at risk for diabetes through an easy-to-use online quiz. The quiz contains seven simple “yes or no” questions that can help employers evaluate an employee’s health. Employers who include the quiz in their benefits package can learn which employees will benefit most from this wellness program.

How Prevent T2 Works

Prevent T2 is an updated version of the Diabetes Prevention Program, which was developed by the CDC in the early 2000s. It includes a new curriculum and covers topics that promote healthier lifestyles and long-term weight loss. The curriculum engages employees by developing strategies for monitoring diet and physical activity with the goal of losing five to seven percent of their total body weight over 12 months.

The first six months of Prevent T2 teaches participants how to stay committed to the program and how to achieve their goals. The participant guidebook outlines simple lifestyle changes such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator or substituting water for soft drinks.

Prevent T2 on Mobile Devices

Because Prevent T2 requires weekly in-person sessions for four months, time has frequently been one of the biggest obstacles to completing Prevent T2. Fortunately, Prevent T2 is now available on mobile devices through CDC-certified virtual providers.

Earlier this year, Noom Coach became the first digital health provider to receive full recognition by the CDC for Prevent T2. The mobile wellness program enables employees to take advantage of Prevent T2 literally from their pockets — on their cell phones. Yes, there’s an app for that! A live human coach monitors all of the user’s activity, offering inspiration, guidance and advice so employees can conquer diabetes.

Prevent T2 typically costs just a few hundred dollars per participating employee, compared to the average healthcare cost of $13,700 for one diabetic on the payroll.

Denise de la Rama is the director of operations and finance at Noom, Inc.. She has an insider view on how wellness programs are bought and sold through insurance brokers, while educating employees on diabetes prevention.

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