- Evidence suggests that digital diabetes prevention programmes (DDPPs) are as effective as in-person programmes in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in people with a high risk of developing T2D.
- DDPPs are effective in reducing blood glucose levels (HbA1c) and body weight, which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing T2D.
- Health coaches play an essential role in delivering DDPPs. People were more likely to set goals for themselves and engage with the programme if they received support from a health coach in combination with other tools.
- DDPPs have the potential to reach a wider population than traditional options and facilitate proportional access across different population groups.
- In-person programmes to prevent T2D in people at risk are very cost effective. Although yet to formally assessed, the digital implementation and delivery of prevention programmes is expected to be similarly cost effective.
What were we asked to look at
We were asked by the Accelerated National Innovation Adoption (ANIA) collaborative to assess the evidence for a digitally delivered T2D prevention programme.
T2D prevention programmes are evidence-based interventions aimed at preventing or delaying the onset of T2D in high-risk individuals. This includes offering ongoing tailored advice, support, and encouragement to people through established behaviour change techniques (BCTs) such as information provision, goal setting, action planning, coping plans and relapse prevention. These prevention programmes can be delivered using in-person or digital models. The digital programmes deliver information, advice and support using a combination of digital technologies, such as smartphone apps, websites, videoconferencing, and wearable devices such as smartwatches.
Why is this important
Of all people with diabetes nationally, approximately 88% have T2D. Reducing risk factors for developing T2D and delaying or preventing the onset of the condition are key indicators in the Scottish Government’s T2D prevention, early detection and intervention framework. The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption to T2D prevention and weight management services.
Poor diet, lack of physical activity and obesity are known to be the main modifiable factors in the development of T2D. There is a strong evidence base linking T2D prevention with behavioural changes that result in a healthier lifestyle. Prevention programmes can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life for people with a high risk of developing T2D.
The Accelerated National Innovation Adoption (ANIA) Collaborative