The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

020: Fighting Diabetes at the Worksite with Dr. David Marrero

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Diabetes is becoming a public health crisis of our time not only in the U.S. but worldwide. In the U.S. there are almost 30 million people with diabetes and 89 million with prediabetes. As many as one in three will have diabetes by 2030.

Excessive weight and obesity is the #1 risk factor for prediabetes and developing diabetes but it’s not the only factor that can cause diabetes. Other risk factors include genetics, age, race and ethnicity.

I ask David “what can you do to prevent prediabetes?” You can prevent or significantly delay it by modest lifestyle modifications, such as losing 5-7% of body weight and increasing moderate physical activity to150 minutes a week. This can cut a person’s chances of prediabetes from developing into full blown diabetes by as much as 60%.

Last year more people died of diabetes than AIDS and breast cancer combined.

We talk about research on Biggest Loser participants, workplace environments and why it’s very important for employers to support people trying to accomplish weight goals.

Dr. Marrero tells us about the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and how he and his team took the DPP trial and turned it into a public health initiative through the YMCA’s. That work formed the basis of the CDC approved DPP which consists of 16 week core curriculum and maintenance phase once a month for the rest of the year.

He tells us how Weight Watchers was used to scale the DPP and how it’s designed to drop in and out of it with no penalties. There’s a study to show that it can accomplish the same outcomes as some other diabetes prevention programs.

We talk about the debate of focusing on weight at work.

Dr. Marrero believes in treating the whole patient, meaning not everybody is the same so everyone has to be addressed differently. He talks about how we can be more understanding around diabetes.

David has diabetes and has for 40 years at 25 years old. He talks about how this influenced his research of diabetes.

I ask him how technology can impact diabetes care, what employers need to understand about their employees with diabetes and how should you address those with prediabetes and diabetes.

He leaves us with one tangible tip for employer to improve the health of their employees around diabetes and tells us about his work at the University of Arizona.