Dr. Ann Albright, director of the Division of Diabetes Translation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was the keynote speaker at the Houston launch event for “NOT ME”™ – an innovative new national campaign designed to tackle the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes.
The event, which was held at the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA for health care employer groups and health care providers, was hosted by the Houston Wellness Association.
UnitedHealthcare, the YMCA of Greater Houston and Kroger are partners in NOT ME, which is a campaign of the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA), an employer- and community-based initiative aimed at tipping the scales against type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and obesity.
In her comments, Dr. Albright noted that nearly 80 million Americans are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. “The good news is we can do something about it. We have a prevention program that works. To help us change the course of diabetes in America, we need health professionals, lay workers, employers and the private sector. Our goal at the CDC is by 2020 for 15 million Americans to improve their long-term health through the National Diabetes Prevention Program. The Y has projected that it can reach about 6 million of these people. So, clearly, we need even more partners to come onboard,” she said.
NOT ME is anchored by two evidence-based programs proven to help prevent and control type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes Prevention Program and the Diabetes Control Program.
Houston is one of six cities in the country to participate in the NOT ME program, which marks the first time in the United States that a health plan is paying for evidence-based diabetes prevention and engaging pharmacists to support critical diabetes management programs. DPCA services are currently available at no out-of-pocket cost to participants enrolled in employer-provided health insurance plans through UnitedHealthcare and Medica in select markets.
The DPCA, launched in 2010 by founding partners UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), YMCA of the USA, and Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG), is one of many UnitedHealth Group programs and services that fight diabetes, obesity, and related health problems in creative, practical ways to help improve health care quality, expand support and coverage, and help bend the cost curve.
Diabetes cost the country an estimated $194 billion in 2010. If current trends continue, more than half of all Americans will have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020, according to an analysis from the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, and diabetes will account for an estimated 10-percent of total healthcare spending, or almost $500 billion.
In Texas more than 11 percent of the adult population, or about 2.7 million people, has diabetes, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Diabetes costs the state an estimated $12.5 billion annually, according to American Diabetes Association estimates. In the Houston metropolitan area, the Institute for Alternative Futures estimated in 2010 that over 800,000 people, or 13.5% of the population, have diabetes (including both diagnosed and undiagnosed cases).
“Diabetes is taking a devastating toll on the children, families, and communities of Houston, but we have a program that is proven to help prevent the disease,” said David Milich, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual of South Texas. “The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. It is the small lifestyle decisions we make every day that make the biggest impact. The introduction of DPCA programs provides an opportunity for Houston residents to take control of their own health and tackle this disease.”
Kinder Morgan, one of the largest pipeline transportation and energy storage companies in North America, is one of the Alliance’s first customers in the Houston area to offer the programs to its employees.
“Kinder Morgan is committed to helping our employees live healthy lives, and we are intensifying that effort by making the DPCA programs available to our employees and their dependents,” said James Street, executive vice president, HR and Administration for Kinder Morgan. “Through the DPCA and other programs, our 1,500 Houston-based employees are able to take better control of their health and learn healthy behaviors that help them lead more productive lives now and into the future.”
There is substantial evidence that supports early and aggressive intervention to help people avoid the health and financial toll of diabetes. The programs at the Y and Kroger have been tested in controlled clinical trials or pilot projects with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Y, Indiana University, clinical centers, employers, and retail pharmacies.
Diabetes Prevention Program: Preventing Diabetes Through Lifestyle Changes
The Diabetes Prevention Program is offered in Houston in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Houston and is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. It is designed to bring evidence-based lifestyle interventions to communities by working with community-based organizations and third-party payers who adhere to a CDC-recognized, evidence-based curriculum. UnitedHealth Group and the Y are partners in the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
The program, offered by the Y, uses a group-based lifestyle intervention designed especially for people with prediabetes (people who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes). In an interactive group setting, a trained lifestyle coach helps participants change their lifestyle by educating them about healthy eating, physical activity and other behavior modifications over a 16-session program. After the initial 16 core sessions, participants meet monthly for up to one year for added support to help them maintain their progress. Research from the Diabetes Prevention Program clinical trial, led by the NIH with support from the CDC, has shown that with lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction, a person with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
“Type 2 diabetes is an irreversible diagnosis, but a person can prevent or delay the disease before it develops,” said Clark Baker, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston. “The YMCA of Greater Houston has the reach, the roots, and the experience to tackle this problem through community-based intervention, reaching people through their friends and family at the Y. There are nearly 2,700 Y branches across the USA, and 57 percent of our nation’s households are located within three miles of a YMCA branch. The Y is in a unique position to bring this community-based solution to thousands of people in Houston and to millions of people across the country.” Financial assistance is available through the YMCA. For more information on the YMCA diabetes program visit, http://www.ymcahouston.org/healthy-living/ydpp/
Diabetes Control Program: Reducing Dangerous, Costly Diabetes Complications
The Diabetes Control Program is offered in Houston in partnership with Kroger. At participating locations in Houston, people with diabetes will have access to trained Kroger pharmacists who provide personalized coaching and counseling and help patients improve adherence to their treatment plans. The goal is for patients to improve blood glucose control – every percentage point drop in HbA1c levels, a commonly used blood glucose marker, reduces by 40 percent the risk of developing complications from diabetes such as nerve disease, blindness, limb amputations and heart disease.
“Kroger is proud to partner with UnitedHealthcare to bring this comprehensive diabetes treatment and self-care management program to Houston,” said Bill Breetz, president of the Kroger Southwest Division. “Managing diabetes is not an easy task. But having a convenient location, such as a neighborhood Kroger store, where you can get extra support and resources, can make it easier. We’re proud to be a part of the Alliance and look forward to contributing to its success in helping to reduce the negative impact of this disease.”
About UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide. Visit www.unitedhealthgroup.com for more information.
The Kroger Southwest Division operates 207 stores, 197 pharmacies and 104 fuel centers in Texas and Louisiana and is part of one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains serving customers in 31 states. For more than 125 years, Kroger has emphasized a customer-first approach to providing quality products, value pricing, outstanding service and an exceptional shopping experience. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, the supermarket retailer is dedicated to making a difference in the communities it serves by supporting hunger relief, education, women’s health and wellness, and diversity programs. For more information about Kroger, please visit www.kroger.com.
About the YMCA of Greater Houston
First organized in 1886, the YMCA of Greater Houston’s mission is to put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. In the greater Houston area, 39 YMCA facilities and hundreds of program sites provide character enrichment and fun activities for people of all ages, cultures and abilities. The YMCA utilizes the skills of nearly 6,000 staff members and 15,000 volunteers. The YMCA ensures to serve everyone, regardless of economic circumstance. To learn more, call 713-659-5566 or visit us on the web at www.ymcahouston.org. The YMCA of Greater Houston is funded in part by the United Way.
About the Houston Wellness Association
Founded in 2006 as an outgrowth of the Mayor’s Wellness Council, the Houston Wellness Association (HWA) is a not-for-profit organization with over 600 members representing over 110 companies of all sizes and industries. HWA’s mission is to advance the health and well-being of our community and the economic vitality of our wellness sector. By contributing to worksite wellness programs for corporations, small businesses and uninsured companies; enhancing the development of a vibrant wellness business sector; and encouraging corporate social responsibility to address the healthcare needs of all segments of the population including childhood obesity, senior fitness and public-wellness policy, we hope to transform Houston into a widely-modeled, innovative city of healthy living. Visit www.houstonwellness.org.
About the National Diabetes Prevention Program
The National Diabetes Prevention Program is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program is establishing a network of evidence-based lifestyle intervention programs for those at high risk of type 2 diabetes. CDC’s role with the National Diabetes Prevention Program includes helping train the work force that can implement the program cost-effectively and setting standards that will help ensure program quality and consistency. Visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes/projects/prevention_program.htm for more information.