86 million US adults have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know they have it (CDC 1/25/2016). One in three Massachusetts adults (apx. 1.8 million) have prediabetes, but 93% don’t know they have it (MA DPH). According to the CDC, “Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes puts people at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15%-30% of people with prediabetes will go on to have type 2 diabetes within 5 years.”
On Cape Cod, five evidenced-based diabetes prevention programs are funded by the Massachusett’s Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF) through the Barnstable Prevention Partnership. The Partnership, formed by the Barnstable County Department of Human Services, consists of three local community health centers and two local community organizations. It has created a referral and health education system that is based on the concept of self-management of health risks with a focus on preventing hypertension, diabetes, and falls. It is one of nine such partnerships funded by the PWTF that shares over $40 million in grants to help fight chronic illness and improve health outcomes on the community level while reducing health care costs.