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A personalized intervention for diabetes prevention

BERKELY, Calif., Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- NutritionQuest (http://www.nutritionquest.com), a health and wellness research company in Berkeley, CA has launched their latest online intervention program, which aims to change the course of patients with diagnosed pre-diabetes. The program, which features a highly individualized website, Android and iPhone apps, tailored emails, an interactive voice response coaching program, and tailored mailed newsletters, is the first of its kind to focus on diabetes prevention.

Alive-PD (Prevent Diabetes) enables pre-diabetics to adopt the lifestyle changes that are proven effective in reversing the progression to diabetes. "The national Diabetes Prevention Program proved it's possible to slow the progression of pre-diabetes through face-to-face  behavioral interventions," says Dr. Gladys Block, lead developer of the program, and Prof. Emerita of Public Health at U.C. Berkeley. "With Alive-PD we hope to demonstrate that pre-diabetics can achieve significant behavior change via a highly individualized, yet completely automated program."

Using a multi-modal approach that includes online, mobile, telephony, and traditional outreach components, Alive-PD can reach the millions of pre-diabetics who need help. "Most people know that they need to change their behaviors, but they need coaching and support throughout the process to be successful," said Block.

The intervention distills the expertise of behavioral researchers and diabetes educators into a 36-week program that automatically adapts intervention messages and program actions to reflect the level of user interaction. Those with successful interactions are rewarded and encouraged, while those who find behavior change more challenging receive specialized coaching.

Features of the program include personalized activity planning tools, individualized goal setting and reporting, performance logging, specific dietary and activity advice tailored to patients' self-reported behaviors, as well as engagement features including a points system, team play and challenges. The program promotes interaction via social media and the direct support of family and friends, and also includes traditional health education articles, infographics, and self-testing quizzes.

A randomized trial of the program, conducted in collaboration with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), has recently begun. Kristen Azar, RN, leads the study's data collection component at PAMFRI, where over 300 people are being recruited. Volunteers for the study must be members of the PAMF health care organization, have a confirmed blood test of pre-diabetes, and be overweight. They will come to the clinic in Palo Alto three times to have their blood and other measurements made. Participants will be randomized to receive the Alive-PD program immediately or after a six-month delay.

Development and testing of Alive-PD has been funded in part through a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US National Institute of Nursing Research. Alive-PD is based on the behavioral approaches proven effective in a previous program, Alive!.

Pre-diabetes is an often undiagnosed medical condition in which one's blood sugar is elevated (100 to 125 mg/dl) but still below the diabetic level. Around 79 million American adults have pre-diabetes, and without treatment, half of those will become diabetic within 10 years.  "We intend to change that", adds Block, "by applying the principles of effective behavior change in an intensive, automated intervention program."

Because it is fully automated, Alive-PD has the ability to reach very large numbers of pre-diabetics at low cost, and with little administrative burden for adopting organizations. Alive-PD is now available, to individuals and to organizations, through NutritionQuest. www.nutritionquest.com, 510-704-8514. More information can be found at www.nutritionquest.com/company/news.

Contact:
Gladys Block, gblock@berkeley.edu, 510-301-2984.
Torin Block, tblock@nutritionquest.com, 510-704-8514.
Kristen Azar, Nurse Researcher, AzarK@pamfri.org, 650-614-3246.

About NutritionQuest:

NutritionQuest, a privately held company in Berkeley, California, provides low-cost wellness programs for organizations and industry, and is a recognized leader in nutrition and activity assessment for public health research. Clients included hundreds of US and international universities, the US National Institutes of Health, USDA, as well as NASA. NutritionQuest is responsible for the development of the nutrition assessment tool used weekly by astronauts on the International Space Station.

Dr. Block, Prof. Emerita of Public Health at U.C. Berkeley, discussed the program's design at Stanford: http://medicinex.stanford.edu/portfolio-posts/5562/

SOURCE NutritionQuest

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