Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

October 14, 2012

VA launches effort to battle diabetes in veterans


Mineral Wells Index

By Jim Vines | jim.helpingveterans@gmail.com

The Department of Veterans Affairs on Oct. 5th announced the implementation of a pilot version of the Diabetes Prevention Program, a program promoted nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aimed at reducing the number of veterans who develop diabetes. It will provide veterans with another tool to help lead a healthier, fuller life.

The DPP was a major multi-center clinical research study aimed at discovering whether modest weight loss through dietary change and increased physical activity or treatment with the oral diabetes drug Metformin could prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

The study enrolled participants who were pre-diabetic – those who were overweight with blood glucose levels higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Results showed those who lost a modest amount of weight through dietary changes and increased physical activity sharply reduced their chances of developing diabetes.

Approximately 24 percent of veterans have Type 2 diabetes.

Through the VA’s pilot DPP, which will be offered on a strictly voluntary basis, some veterans who are at risk for, but not diagnosed with, diabetes will attend a series of group sessions and will be given predetermined weight loss and physical activity goals. Research has shown that, while many veterans benefit by establishing their own health goals, others show positive improvement working towards goals determined by the program.

Other veterans at risk for diabetes will receive weight management care through MOVE, the VA’s current weight management program. The program targets a broad range of patients who are obese or overweight with obesity related conditions, whereas the DPP specifically targets those obese individuals who have laboratory evidence of pre-diabetes.

Because the VA is eager to try new approaches to promoting health and preventing disease, it is implementing the pilot VA version of the DPP, with a limited number of veterans with pre-diabetes conditions participating in clinical programs at the medical centers in Minneapolis, Baltimore and Greater Los Angeles, with VA Ann Arbor, Mich., serving as the coordinating center.

For more information on this program, contact Jay Shiffler at jay.shiffler@va.gov at the VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Additional information can be found at www.prevention.va.gov/index.asp.  

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Display your best pink colors in support of the ones we love and those fighting this horrible disease.

Speak to you again next week.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133 in Mineral Wells.