Telehealth delivery of the diabetes prevention program to rural communities

Transl Behav Med. 2017 Jun;7(2):286-291. doi: 10.1007/s13142-017-0496-y.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State and Local Health Departments, and other organizations in the USA are working to increase population access to the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) lifestyle intervention. Delivering the DPP through telehealth videoconference may increase access to this intervention, particularly in rural communities. 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. Beginning in 2008, Holy Rosary Healthcare collaborated with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services 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 mean age of participants was 51.7 years and 84% were female. Overall, participants attended 14.4, 3.9, and 15.0 weekly core, post-core, and total sessions, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in number of intervention sessions attended by the telehealth or on-site participants. There were no statistically significant differences in the mean weight loss or reduction in BMI between the telehealth and the on-site groups. There also were no statistically significant differences in the percentage of telehealth or on-site participants who achieved ≥5% weight loss (56 vs. 57%) or the 7% weight loss goal (38 vs. 41%). Our 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.

Keywords: DPP translation; Lifestyle intervention; Montana; Prediabetes; Prevention; Rural; Telehealth; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Videoconferencing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Promotion* / methods
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Montana
  • Patient Participation
  • Rural Population
  • Telemedicine* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss