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To Fight Off Diabetes, Latina Women Find Power In A Group

(Shots, NPR) Beatrice Sanchez and Mariana Arias drive around their city, Winston-Salem, N.C., in search of a very specific population of residents: Latinos with prediabetes.
The two women, both bilingual and Hispanic, are recruiting participants for a Type 2 diabetes prevention study called "La Comunidad," a lower-cost local version of the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program trial that staved off diabetes through changes in diet and physical activity in about 50 percent of study participants.
The results of that study suggested it was possible to fight a disease that affects about 29 million Americans without drugs and their side effects. It was more effective than using a common diabetes drug called metformin, which cut that number by just 30 percent…
The ultimate goal of studies like La Comunidad, Vitolins says, is to determine whether group-based techniques are helpful from both a health and medical reimbursement perspective. In March, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare would cover preventive programs that meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) requirements, such as data reporting.
Vitolins agrees that community-level programs must have good data to support their use. "We're testing before we say everyone who's in the Latino population should use this approach," she says. "We want it to be effective."
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.