Forty-nine percent of North Carolina adults have either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Hundreds of thousands of these individuals don’t know it. As physicians, we know how difficult and expensive it is to treat diabetes. We know the long-term effects it has on our patient’s lives. We also know that type 2 diabetes can be prevented. This Diabetes Awareness Month, it’s time we all take a stand for a healthier North Carolina.

Whether you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or are a health care provider supporting patients, you can stop type 2 before it starts. The National Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle change program is evidence-based and proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. A trained coach leads live, interactive group classes for one year, educating participants on how to make healthy, sustainable lifestyle choices.

The statewide initiative DiabetesFreeNC is making it easier for providers to refer to a CDC-recognized National DPP lifestyle change program, and helping remove barriers for patients to enroll:

  • Programs are available for free or low cost, regardless of insurance provider.
  • Local and virtual options allow individuals to participate no matter where they live.
  • A digital provider toolkit gives quick access to clinical and patient-facing diabetes prevention resources.
  • Convenient platforms are established for providers referrals.

We are championing this initiative along with health care providers and organizations across the state because we believe in the adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, most physicians have adapted to telemedicine and virtual care, but the need for prevention still exists. Even from a distance, providers can identify patients with prediabetes and empower them to take control of their health.

The numbers cannot be ignored — 88 million adults in the U.S. have prediabetes and 84 percent of them don’t know it. Let’s set an example for the nation by taking a stand against type 2 diabetes and shifting the prediabetes trajectory in North Carolina.


For more information on how to identify patients with prediabetes and refer to a National DPP lifestyle change program, visit ReversePrediabetesNC.org.

If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, talk to your doctor today about treatment options including the National DPP lifestyle change program. Not sure if you have prediabetes? Find out with a 1-minute risk test at JoinAProgram.com.

Dr. Jeffrey Viar, Columbus

Dr. Karen Smit, Raeford

Dr. Brian Klausner, Raleigh

The authors are writing on behalf of the N.C. Medical Society

Contact Bobby Burns at baburns@reflector.com and 329.9572.