Diabetes Intervention in Economically Distressed Communities

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) established that an individual lifestyle intervention can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by over 50% in those with pre-diabetes (DPP Research Group 2002). While the DPP has been adapted for various settings, unfortunately the DPP has not frequently translated into the lowest income settings. Individuals in low income settings may be affected as much by their environment as their individual behaviors. Recent evidence from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) residential-mobility experiment showed that offering individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES) the chance to move from high-poverty areas to low-poverty areas can reduce the risk of diabetes by 20% in comparison to individuals remaining in more disadvantaged neighborhoods, while the effects on those who actually relocate are on the order of 40% (Ludwig et al., 2011).

This is a pilot study for community-based research in partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), in order to adapt a DPP-style intervention to low-income, segregated neighborhoods like those of Chicago’s south and west sides. This research would lay the groundwork to carry out a large-scale randomized experiment that would seek to test whether individually-oriented interventions like DPP and neighborhood environments have interactive (that is, more-than-additive) effects on diabetes risk.

Principal Investigator: Jens O. Ludwig, PhD
Research Team:
Elbert S. Huang, MD, MPH
Marshall H. Chin, MD, MPH
Kathleen Cagney, PhD
Stacy Lindau, MD
Aviva Nathan, MPH

Funding Sources:
Chicago Center for Diabetes Translation Research Pilot & Feasibility Grant
CTSA Pilot Grant