Implementation of Community-Based Lifestyle Programs for Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Southwest and Central Virginia: Formative and Process Evaluation


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Virginia Tech


Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2D) is a major public health issue. Diabetes prevalence is growing and is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. Virginia has a slightly higher prevalence than the national average. Community-based diabetes lifestyle management programs that include a physical activity component are effective at improving glycemic control and influencing lifestyle behavior changes among people with T2D. The Balanced Living with Diabetes (BLD) program uses an active learning approach to improve glycemic control and healthful lifestyles. The Lifelong Improvements through Fitness Together (LIFT) program uses behavioral strategies to improve functional fitness, participant engagement, and program adherence. Participant retention is a challenge for community-based program. Participants may start the program, but then fail to complete the program and/or adhere to program recommendations. Two pilot studies were conducted to evaluate strategies for increasing participant retention and improving outcomes. The first evaluated the implementation and impact of a retention plan implemented in BLD programs conducted from 2015-2017. There were more participants returned to the reunion class session prior the development of the retention plan. There were improvements in some health behavior and self-efficacy indicators in programs that used the retention materials, however, impacts on outcomes were mixed. Preliminary findings showed that the retention plan could be a tool for providing additional support to participants, however strategies for dissemination of the retention plan needs to be reevaluated. The second study evaluated the impact on participant engagement and program outcomes when the LIFT program is incorporated with the BLD program. There was an increase in participant retention, self-efficacy and one health behavior for physical activity and health behaviors related to diet in BLD+LIFT programs. Extension Agents are willing to implement the BLD+LIFT programs, however, clarity of program logistics is needed prior to implementation. Extension Agents indicated that implementation of these programs in locations with older adults that have greater disability may not be the best locations. Having larger studies on the effect of incorporation of LIFT with the BLD with older adult populations that have fewer co-morbidities are needed to determine the impact of addition of the LIFT program with the BLD program on program outcomes.



Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Balanced Living with Diabetes, Lifelong Improvements through Fitness Together, Social Cognitive Theory, RE-AIM Framework, Retention