To researchers’ pleasant surprise, a recent study has found that older adults adapt more quickly to online diabetes prevention programs than their younger counterparts, suggesting a viable solution for patient management within that population.
Given that over half of the U.S. population over the age of
65 is estimated to have prediabetes — with the majority unaware of their risky status
— this is good news.
Devised by San Francisco-based Omada Health Inc., the study involved
1,100 overweight and obese seniors at risk for diabetes or heart disease. With weights
recorded at the online program’s outset and again six months hence, the average
weight loss totaled 6.8 percent for all participants and 7.3 percent for those finishing
the program, with successful figures also reflected in online lesson completion.
“This study validates what our team has known for a while:
that American seniors can — and will — reduce their risk of chronic disease by
engaging with a properly designed digital health intervention,” Omada
co-founder and CEO Sean Duffy said.
The highly interactive program delivered live streaming or
video introducing each participant to his or her own health coach who
monitored progress, offered real-time feedback and remained consistently
available. As patients made progress, they also expanded their online support
circle to stay motivated — and in the long run, healthier.
“While low participation by seniors in online activities is
often attributed to technology aversion, research suggests the real cause may
be poor program design,” the AMA said.
Results of the research were published in the PLoS One medical journal. Additionally, Omada
partnered with the AMA to expand the program into Salt Lake City.
Older adults embrace online diabetes prevention
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