2021 Projects

Teaming for Interdisciplinary Research Pre-Seed Program

Systems Approach for Sustainable Strategies to Prevent Chronic Disease

Systems Approach for Sustainable Strategies to Prevent Chronic Disease

figure about type 2 diabetes prevention

Chronic diseases, especially type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), cardiovascular disease, and some cancers are all mechanistically linked in part by poor diet quality, a sedentary/physically inactive lifestyle, and subsequent excess adiposity. Thus, obesity prevention and weight management remain a cornerstone to prevent the most prevalent and costly chronic diseases in the US, especially in middle-older adults. Race/ethnic disparities also exist for many chronic conditions, especially T2D, for which Hispanic/Latinx individuals have a higher prevalence. Notably this demographic group is also the 2nd largest racial/ethnic group behind white non-Hispanics in the US. Unfortunately, effective yet sustainable weight management programs remain a public health challenge, especially for high-risk and vulnerable populations. In response, the CDC developed and made publicly available the national diabetes prevention program (DPP), a partnership of public and private organizations to enable delivery of an affordable, evidence-based lifestyle change program designed to prevent or delay T2D []. The recently revised DPP curriculum, Prevent T2, highlights contemporary weight management paradigms of diet quality, consistent physical activity, and a small degree of weight loss (5-7%) as key success targets. The importance of social support as a primary factor for sustained behavior change is also emphasized within the curriculum. Finally, and critical to reduce health disparities in T2D, the curriculum is also available in Spanish, with materials being culturally tailored.

In this context, our interdisciplinary working group, comprised of 7 faculty from 4 different colleges with varying yet complimentary disciplines and levels of expertise and experience propose to come together to leverage our existing strengths and pilot data to position ourselves for subsequent successful grant proposals. Note that although our current focus is on T2D, the application of our work could be extended to other chronic conditions and cohorts. The following key words/phrases frame our planned projects and proposals:

  • Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP): A Successful DPP Participant Prevents Many Chronic Diseases
  • Social Support: Humans as Social Animals Choose Behaviors within Social Networks and Systems
  • Multi-Level Interventions: Couples, Families, Workplaces, and Communities Prevent T2 Together
  • Wearables: Technology Tools for Accountability and Socially Connected Support
  • Race/Ethnic Disparities: A Culturally Responsive DPP is Critical for Success

Team Lead

Ellen Evans
College of Education

Team Members

Edward Delgado-Romero
College of Education

Allison Berg
College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Sina Gallo
College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Joseph Kindler
College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Paula Mellom
College of Education

Heather Padilla
College of Public Health

Michael Schmidt
College of Education

Michelle vanDellen
Department of Psychology