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Diabetes and Heart Disease Intervention Program

  • Need: To reduce patients' risk of diabetes and heart disease in rural southwest Mississippi.
  • Intervention: The CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program helps participants with cardiometabolic syndrome reduce at least 7% of their body weight and normalize blood pressure and glucose through lifestyle modifications.
  • Results: In 2018, participants who completed the program lost a combined 547 pounds, and 65% of these participants reduced their blood pressure.


Healthy food photo According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippi had the highest prevalence of diabetes in the nation in 2016, with over 13.6% of the adult population living with diabetes.

To reduce patients' risk of diabetes and heart disease, the rural community of Natchez, Mississippi, implemented the Diabetes and Heart Disease Intervention Program, known as the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP), which has been shown to reduce prediabetic people's risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50%. Program coordinators modified the NDPP to also include patients at risk of heart disease and augmented it to include participants who have cardiometabolic syndrome, a precursor to type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Program staff helped individuals who were overweight and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease lose at least 7 pounds, especially abdominal weight. NDPP-trained and certified lifestyle coaches helped participants make changes like eating healthier foods and being more physically active.

The program, which received funding from the Humana Foundation, ended after the funding period ended.

Services offered

Participants completed 16 weeks of educational training, attending one 90-minute class per week. Coaches educated participants on healthy lifestyle choices, and participants completed a group exercise (as part of the goal to complete 150 minutes of exercise each week). Coaches measured participants' blood pressure and body weight weekly and waist circumference monthly.


In 2016, the program's first year, 22 program graduates lost a total of 300 pounds. In 2017, 100 people joined and the remaining 50 participants lost a total of 500 pounds. Thanks to their weight loss, some participants have been able to stop taking medications for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, and other participants were able to avoid being put on these medications at all.

In 2018, only 23% of participants completed the program; those who completed the program lost a combined 547 pounds. These participants also experienced the following:

  • 65% reduced their blood pressure
  • Systolic levels dropped by an average of 14 points
  • Diastolic levels dropped by an average of 13 points

Other results include:

  • 30% of participants achieved the program's weight loss goals of losing 5-7% of their body weight
  • 70% lost more than 7% of their body weight
  • 48% lost more than 10% of their body weight
  • The highest amount of weight loss for any participant was 16.8% of their body weight
  • No participants received a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or coronary heart disease during the program
  • Participants reported improved sleep, mood, stamina, and energy levels as well as reduced stress and medication use


The program originally took place in local churches once a week but in 2017 was moved to the wellness center on the Copiah-Lincoln Community College-Natchez Campus, where the class was offered three times a week. The centrality of the new location and the increase in class offerings helped more people attend classes.


To implement a similar program, consider the following:

  • Find money to hire coaches, and hire coaches who are passionate about health.
  • Find a community health clinic and/or local large employer that's invested in health and is willing to help fund the program or make it a clinic for patients or a worksite wellness offering to employees.
  • Perform a community health needs assessment to determine if community members could afford to pay a monthly fee for this program.
  • Find a champion for your program – this could be a healthcare leader, a community leader like a county administrator, or a large group of community members.
  • Ask health insurance companies serving your area to cover the program as a primary prevention benefit.

Contact Information

Getty Israel, Population Health Consultant and former Program Director
Diabetes and Heart Disease Intervention Program

Cardiovascular disease
Obesity and weight control
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served

Date added
December 13, 2017

Date updated or reviewed
December 4, 2019

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2019. Diabetes and Heart Disease Intervention Program [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: [Accessed 24 October 2020]

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.