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Diabetes Prevention Program celebrates 10-year anniversary


Contact:   Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936     
             Curt Scollard, Marketing & Communications Specialist, Holy Rosary Healthcare, (406) 233-4053


Diabetes Prevention Program celebrates 10-year anniversary

  • Program has improved the health for thousands of Montanans
  • Holy Rosary program one of four original sites

By Jon Ebelt / DPHHS Public Information Officer

When Miles City’s Rhonda Shumway found she was easily fatigued and couldn’t keep up with her grandchildren, her primary care provider encouraged her to try the Holy Rosary Healthcare diabetes prevention program called Healthy Lifestyles as a solution to her high blood pressure and joint pain.  She was amazed that the common-sense approach, educational information, and activities really worked.

“My favorite tool was the little blue book we used to record daily food and activity,” she said. “It worked and the pounds started sliding off.”

She was able to discontinue blood pressure meds and her LDL and HDL cholesterol numbers improved dramatically and she maintained her weight loss for several months. Then the weight started to creep back on. “I knew I was in serious trouble when my provider restarted my blood pressure meds and added a pre-diabetes medication,” she said. “He also gently suggested I return to the Healthy Lifestyles program.”

After she got past the idea that she was ‘a failure’ she found that many of her new class friends were also ‘repeaters. As she traveled down the habit change path the second time she was able to gradually lose weight again. And, to date, she has lost a total of 93 pounds from when she first started the program. And, best of all, this time she has been able to keep it off.

“It takes commitment to lose weight and it takes time,” she said. “If I slip, I get back on track. I stop and think about what I eat and check my emotions when I reach for something high in fat and calories. I’ve learned new cooking techniques that are keeping my cholesterol and blood pressure numbers in line. It is easier for me to walk and play with my grandchildren.  Healthy Lifestyles very likely lengthened my life.”

Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney attended a 10-year anniversary celebration to celebrate the success of the Healthy Lifestyles on Tuesday, July 24. “Prevention is the key and this program has been successful by connecting Montanans to the information and tools they need to improve their health,” Cooney said “The program has also been adapted to work for rural Montana as well. I congratulate all those who have made the last 10 years so successful, and look forward to what can be accomplished in the next decade.”

DPHHS State Medical Officer Greg Holzman said it’s important for Montanans, especially as they age, to assess their current eating habits and develop a regular exercise routine which can include walking, biking, low impact yoga, hiking and more. “In Montana, the outdoor opportunities to exercise are endless,” Holzman said. “My advice is to find a routine that works, and then stick to it. This program is a great place to start for those seeking lifestyle change guidance.”

Holy Rosary is one of over 30 DPP sites in Montana that receives funding from the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). This includes programs that offer the DPP on-site, through telehealth or serve as a satellite location. The program helps persons at high risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and heart attack.

The Holy Rosary program is also one of four sites that launched in 2008.  The other three original sites are Community Medical Center (Missoula), St. Vincent Healthcare (Billings) and St. Peter’s Health (Helena).

The DPP is an intensive lifestyle change program. Trained lifestyle coaches use a curriculum focused on sustainable nutrition, physical activity and behavior change. The average participant age is 54 years old.

More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010, according to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Holy Rosary Chief Operating Officer Carol Enderle said the health system she helps oversee is proud to partner with the state, and points to the program’s lifestyle coaches as one of the keys to its success. Enderle said it’s a team effort, but Holy Rosary has been fortunate to have lifestyle coach Liane Vadheim leading the Healthy Lifestyles program since it launched 10 years ago. And, Katie Patch has been a lifestyle coach for the past several years. “There are many success stories of participants who have truly made major lifestyle changes, and both ladies have played a major role in this effort,” Enderle said.

DPHHS Diabetes Program Manager Sarah Brokaw said that type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. “The good news is that most type 2 diabetes cases are preventable with weight loss and increased physical activity,” Brokaw said.

The DPP is a 12-month group lifestyle change program for those at high-risk for type 2 diabetes.
DPP is based on the National Institutes of Health Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Balance curriculum. Sessions include strategies for healthy eating, ways to increase enjoyable physical activity and advice on how to address and overcome challenges.

Nationwide, all 50 states have DPP, and Montana’s version has been referred to as one of the most successful programs created in the country. 

Since 2008, nearly 9,000 Montanans have participated in the program, including over 500 Medicaid beneficiaries since 2011. And, participants are achieving weight loss outcomes similar to the National Institute of Health’s original program. Diabetes and risk factors for it, such as obesity, are more common among adults enrolled in Montana Medicaid. Beginning in 2012, Medicaid included DPP as a covered benefit for its beneficiaries and reimbursed sites for providing the service.

Program goals include self-monitoring nutrition and physical activity, achieving appropriate fat gram intake, increasing moderate to intense physical activity to 150 minutes or more per week and reducing body weight by 5 to 7%. The evidence-based program reduces the risk for developing diabetes by 58% over three years and by 34% over 10 years after participating in the program.

Participants have realized numerous benefits including 63% met a goal of 150 minutes of physical exercise per week; 47% lost 5% body weight; and 33% lost 7% of their body weight.

In addition, significantly fewer participants need to take medication after 10 months in the program compared to baseline.

The program has also been just as successful in rural Montana where many do not have the capacity to implement these services locally. Beginning in 2008, Holy Rosary collaborated with DPHHS on a study to provide the DPP to participants on-site in one community and simultaneously through telehealth to participants in multiple other communities.

From 2008 through 2015, 894 participants were enrolled in the program (29% at telehealth sites). The purpose of this study was to compare participation, monitoring of diet and physical activity, and weight loss in participants receiving the intervention on-site and those participating virtually through telehealth.

The findings suggest that participants receiving the DPP through telehealth have similar rates of participation and achieve similar weight loss as participants attending the program on-site. Since 2008, Holy Rosary has provided the DPP to participants onsite in Miles City and through telehealth video conferencing to participants in Ashland, Baker, Broadus, Colstrip, Ekalaka, Forsyth, Jordan and Wibaux.

Based on the success of the delivery of the lifestyle intervention through telehealth at Holy Rosary, DPHHS collaborated with the Benefis Health System, Billings Clinic and Kalispell Regional Medical Center to provide the program through telehealth, allowing access to these services in additional rural communities. Currently, Benefis Health System delivers the DPP via telehealth to Cut Bank, Chester and White Sulphur Springs, and Kalispell Regional Health to Plains.

All Montanans are encouraged to find out if they have pre-diabetes by consulting with their health care provider. Classes are being held this fall across Montana, and will also be offered again next spring.

For a listing of sites, visit https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/Diabetes/DPP

For more information, contact Brokaw (406) 444-0593 or email sbrokaw@mt.gov.Add Content...