UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) and Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) are seeking participants for a study to evaluate the effectiveness of using Video-on-Demand (VOD) programming to deliver the Diabetes Prevention Program, an evidence-based lifestyle change program developed from the National Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum.
The television episodes and support materials are scheduled for release as new video-on-demand programming on Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand platform in two pilot test markets: Philadelphia, and Knoxville, Tenn.
Enrollment for the 12-month study began Feb. 13, with the first VOD programming available Feb. 27.
UnitedHealth Group and Comcast will evaluate making the Diabetes Prevention Program available on the Xfinity On Demand platform in communities across the country if the pilot proves successful at helping participants achieve healthier weights and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The 16-episode NOT ME™ VOD programming will use a reality TV format that follows six adults with prediabetes as they go through the Diabetes Prevention Program. Each VOD episode will feature a health and wellness coach leading a class of real participants who are working to reach a healthier weight and reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Between each episode, study participants will practice at home the skills they learn from the program. Study participants also will be given tracking assignments each week and opportunities to put what they learn into action.
“We’re excited to partner with Comcast to deliver this program directly into people’s homes,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president, UnitedHealth Group Center for Health Reform & Modernization. “Taking on the epidemics of obesity, prediabetes and diabetes requires our deep commitment and most creative thinking, and making the Diabetes Prevention Program available in people’s homes is part of an ongoing effort to bring the program to the broadest audiences possible, in the most convenient and cost-effective ways possible.”
Comcast has been promoting the new program through a series of public service announcements (PSAs), one of which included Mark Feuerstein, who plays Dr. Hank Lawson from USA Network’s hit show, “Royal Pains,” which currently airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST/9 p.m CST on USA. The PSAs have been airing over the past few months in Philadelphia and Knoxville to help raise awareness of the national diabetes epidemic.
Beginning Feb. 13, new PSAs will begin airing and encourage consumers to visit the study recruitment website at www.projectnotmedp.com if they have one or more risk factors and are interested in participating in the study. The spots will reach 35 networks that target the intended Diabetes Prevention Program demographic, including ESPN, USA Network and Food Network.
“We are pleased to work with UnitedHealth Group to help create awareness about this important topic and deliver this proven program in an innovative way using our Xfinity On Demand platform,” said Mark Coblitz, senior vice president of Strategic Planning for Comcast. “Comcast’s industry-leading VOD service has fundamentally changed the way people watch TV by giving them TV on their terms, and we think this platform has great potential to deliver health education on consumers’ terms.”
The Diabetes Prevention Program is a group lifestyle change program that helps people who are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes (a condition known as prediabetes) prevent the disease through modest weight loss promoted via healthy eating, increased physical activity and other lifestyle changes. The program consists of 16 core sessions, followed by monthly maintenance sessions for up to a year. Classes are led by a trained lifestyle coach who guides a small group of people in learning about behavior changes that reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.
The lifestyle change program is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, which is designed to bring evidence-based lifestyle interventions to communities by working through organizations that adhere to CDC-recognized, evidence-based standards.
UnitedHealth Group, in partnership with the Y and CDC, has been helping the lifestyle change program achieve national scale through the “NOT ME” ™ program from the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, an employer- and community-based initiative aimed at tipping the scales against type 2 diabetes, prediabetes and obesity. The goal for participants in the group lifestyle change program is to lose 5-7 percent of their body weight.
The VOD study is designed by Ronald T. Ackermann, M.D., MPH, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who conducted the original Diabetes Prevention Program translational pilot and is considered a national expert in the prevention and control of common chronic illnesses.
“Delivering the Diabetes Prevention Program at local Y branches reduced program costs to roughly one-eighth the amount of the traditional Diabetes Prevention Program intervention,” said Dr. Ackermann. “Bringing the program into people’s homes through video-on-demand holds the promise to make this clinically proven prevention program even more accessible and cost-effective.”
Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes, and another 79 million American adults are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. Diabetes cost the country an estimated $206 billion in 2011. If current trends continue, more than half of all Americans will have diabetes or prediabetes at an annual cost of $512 billion by 2021, according to the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the world’s leading media, entertainment and communications companies. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.
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 UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com for more information.