Importance: Coordinated efforts by national organizations in the United States to implement evidence-based lifestyle modification programs are under way to reduce type 2 diabetes (hereinafter referred to as diabetes) and cardiovascular risks.
Objective: To provide a status report on the reach and use of diabetes prevention services nationally.
Design, setting, and participants: This nationally representative, population-based cross-sectional analysis of 2016 and 2017 National Health Interview Survey data was conducted from August 3, 2017, through November 15, 2018. Nonpregnant, noninstitutionalized, civilian respondents 18 years or older at high risk for diabetes, defined as those with no self-reported diabetes diagnosis but with diagnosed prediabetes or an elevated American Diabetes Association (ADA) risk score (>5), were included in the analysis. Analyses were conducted for adults with (and in sensitivity analyses, for those without) elevated body mass index.
Main outcomes and measures: Absolute numbers and proportions of adults at high risk with elevated body mass index receiving advice about diet, physical activity guidance, referral to weight loss programs, referral to diabetes prevention programs, or any of these, and those affirming engagement in each (or any) activity in the past year were estimated. To identify where gaps exist, a prevention continuum diagram plotted existing vs desired goal achievement. Variation in risk-reducing activities by age, sex, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, insurance status, history of gestational diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or body mass index was also examined.
Results: This analysis included 50 912 respondents (representing 223.0 million adults nationally) 18 years or older (mean [SE] age, 46.1 [0.2] years; 48.1% [0.3%] male) with complete data and no self-reported diabetes diagnosis by their health care professional. Of the represented population, 36.0% (80.0 million) had either a physician diagnosis of prediabetes (17.9 million), an elevated ADA risk score (73.3 million), or both (11.3 million). Among those with diagnosed prediabetes, 73.5% (95% CI, 71.6%-75.3%) reported receiving advice and/or referrals for diabetes risk reduction from their health care professional, and, of those, 35.0% (95% CI, 30.5%-39.8%) to 75.8% (95% CI, 73.2%-78.3%) reported engaging in the respective activity or program in the past year. Half of adults with elevated ADA risk scores but no diagnosed prediabetes (50.6%; 95% CI, 49.5%-51.8%) reported receiving risk-reduction advice and/or referral, of whom 33.5% (95% CI, 30.1%-37.0%) to 75.2% (95% CI, 73.4%-76.9%) reported engaging in activities and/or programs. Participation in diabetes prevention programs was exceedingly low. Advice from a health care professional, age range from 45 to 64 years, higher educational attainment, health insurance status, gestational diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and obesity were associated with higher engagement in risk-reducing activities and/or programs.
Conclusions and relevance: Among adults at high risk for diabetes, major gaps in receiving advice and/or referrals and engaging in diabetes risk-reduction activities and/or programs were noted. These results suggest that risk perception, health care professional referral and communication, and insurance coverage may be key levers to increase risk-reducing behaviors in US adults. These findings provide a benchmark from which to monitor future program availability and coverage, identification of prediabetes, and referral to and retention in programs.