Chronic Condition Management, Workforce Health | By | 06/11/18 | 2 Minute Read

Are Workplace Diabetes Management Programs Actually Effective?

Helping employees better manage their diabetes isn’t a particularly novel idea for employers. In fact, according to NBGH and Fidelity Investments’ 2018 annual wellbeing survey, which we previously reported on, 84% of employers are offering or will offer a diabetes management program for their employees this year. That’s slightly up from 81% in 2017.

And as we previously found, one recent Australian dataset tied a 10% decrease in productivity to diabetes, arguably making the case that there’s more opportunity for employers to help their employees manage this condition.

But are these diabetes management programs effective? A recent study, a meta-analysis of over 4,000 study participants, has shown promising results within workplace diabetes prevention programs.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin reviewed 22 studies that looked at programs focused on healthy eating behaviors, physical activity, and/or monitoring and self-managing diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors, and the degree to which they help improve diabetes-related outcomes in employees diagnosed with or at risk for type 2 diabetes.

The outcomes of the studies, measured at six and 12-month intervals, consistently showed health improvements in biological measures (such as A1C levels, weight/BMI, blood glucose levels, insulin levels, blood pressure, and lipids), self-reported behavioral adherence measures, and psychosocial variables (such as measures of depression, anxiety, and adherence to behavioral recommendations).

The most frequently measured biological marker was BMI, as 15 of the 20 studies that measured this variable found statistically significant intervention effects.

The meta-analysis concluded that workplace interventions hold promise for helping prevent diabetes and/or its complications.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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Learn more about how diabetes management can ultimately help you save money in healthcare costs and reduce absenteeism, in our white paper, "The Impact of Diabetes in the Workplace."

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