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Fam Pract. 2012 Apr;29 Suppl 1:i13-23. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmr126.

Primary prevention of type 2 diabetes: integrative public health and primary care opportunities, challenges and strategies.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, 66 Santa Paula Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127, USA.


Type 2 diabetes imposes a large and growing burden on the public's health. This burden, combined with the growing evidence for primary prevention from randomized controlled trials of structured lifestyle programs leads to recommendations to include caloric reduction, increased physical activity and specific assistance to patients in problem solving to achieve modest weight loss as well as pharmacotherapy. These recommendations demand exploration of new ways to implement such primary prevention strategies through more integrated community organization, medical practice and policy. The US experience with control of tobacco use and high blood pressure offers valuable lessons for policy, such as taxation on products, and for practice in a variety of settings, such as coordination of referrals for lifestyle supports. We acknowledge also some notable exceptions to their generalizability. This paper presents possible actions proposed by an expert panel, summarized in Table 1 as recommendations for immediate action, strategic action and research. The collaboration of primary care and public health systems will be required to make many of these recommendations a reality. This paper also provides information on the progress made in recent years by the Division of Diabetes Translation at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement or facilitate such integration of primary care and public health for primary prevention.

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