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App Could Help Pre-Diabetic Americans Avoid Devastating Health Effects

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Having diabetes puts people at risk for heart and kidney disease, stroke, amputations, and more.

But as CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explained, there's new technology that may be able to help.

The CDC said there are 86-million Americans with pre-diabetes -- meaning their blood sugar it on its way to becoming full-blown diabetes with potentially devastating health effects.

Worse yet, 9 out of 10 of those people don't even know they have it.

"If people make lifestyle changes they can prevent developing type 2 diabetes later on in life. The diabetes prevention program by the CDC is currently the number one way to do that," Dr. Andreas Michaelides said.

Trouble is, the Diabetes Prevention Program, or DPP, is cumbersome. It requires weekly face-to-face meetings with a lifestyle coach and support group, notebooks worth of lessons, and a year-long commitment.

There must be an easier way.

"What we've done is taken the DPP and put it completely on a mobile platform. So, essentially you take the program with you in your program," Dr. Michaelides said.

It's called Noom-DPP. The mobile app for iPhone and Android with the lifestyle changes you need to do to help prevent diabetes.

A study in the British Medical Journal showed that, for the first time, a mobile app can achieve the changes needed to help keep pre-diabetics from becoming full-blown type 2 diabetics.

"On average, the population lost 7.5 percent of their bodyweight which on average means that they've reduced their risk of diabetes by 66 percent," Dr. Michaelides said.

The app also helps regular people who just want to lose weight -- like Amanda Kunze who was inactive after hurting her foot while hiking.

"I gained about 10 to 12 pounds and I'm down about 10 of them now. So with some muscle mass I'm actually thinner," she said.

Kunze logs her food intake, and the app shows her which foods to watch out for. It automatically registers her activity levels, and she can confer with a live coach and a virtual support group for help and encouragement.

The idea is to make it easier to follow a weight loss program by offering information, encouragement, and guidance in a package that most people carry around all the time.

The basic program is free, but the version with live coaches is $60 a month. It's not cheap, but better than what diabetes will cost you.



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