Context: Diabetes has become a global noninfectious pandemic with rates rapidly rising around the globe. The major drivers of this increase in type 2 diabetes are obesity, an increase in processed foods, and a decrease in physical activity. In the United States, the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) has proven to be an effective lifestyle intervention to delay or prevent new-onset type 2 diabetes. However, there is limited evidence that such a lifestyle program will work in a South American community.
Objectives: This pilot program aims to determine if a modified version of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) would be feasible in an Ecuadorian population. The goals of this pilot program were a 7% weight loss, >150 min of physical activity per week, and a reduction of fat calories to yield a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. This program was led by family medicine physicians and was offered to people with prediabetes in Quito, Ecuador.
Methods: The program was modified to include only the first half of the DPP curriculum, which included a schedule of 16 classes in the first 6 months. Further, the program was provided in Spanish and modified to be more culturally specific to this population. Participants were recruited from the faculty and staff of Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador [PUCE]) in Quito. Outcomes measured included A1c reduction, weight loss, increase in physical activity minutes, and progression to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Results: The sample included 33 people with prediabetes. The mean age of the participants was 52 years (range, 41–66 years), the mean body mass index (BMI) was 27.6 kg/m2 (range, 21.0–40.3 kg/m2), and the mean HbA1C was 6.2% (range, 5.7–6.4%). The attendance was 97.8% at 6 months. The mean weight loss was 3.4 kg per participant (range, 1.5 kg weight gain to 8.3 kg weight loss); in percentage points, this was a mean weight loss of 3.6% (range, 2.3% gain to 11.8% weight loss). Three-fourths of the participants lost weight (78.3%). The majority of participants (75.8%) met the target physical activity level of 150 min per week, and all participants increased their physical activity levels from baseline. No participants progressed to type 2 diabetes during this study.
Conclusions: The DPP 6 month pilot was effective in this population with prediabetes in Ecuador. The largest changes were made in physical activity time. Holding the program at worksites and providing lunch were key factors in the very high retention rate in this study.