Coaching for Life: New Diabetic Prevention Program a Game Changer at BIFMC December 6, 2022

Margaret Peck, HPEB MPH, coaches the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which has proven to be effective in reducing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes among high risk individuals.

Margaret Peck, HPEB MPH and volunteer coach at BIFMC, leads the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP), which has proven to be effective in reducing the incidence of Type 2 diabetes among high risk individuals. Having served as a fitness nutrition coach helping athletes to achieve their health and fitness goals for many years, Margaret Peck went on to create a successful, evidence-based social enterprise program called Healthy Plate Cooking ( in order to provide virtual nutrition education through home cooking skills. “My goal is to make NDPP easy to access and affordable for anyone,” shares Peck. “Many of the participants enter through scholarships at reduced or free cost.” Fortunate for BIFMC, Peck was willing and eager to bring her services to high risk patients at the Clinic in a months long Access Health Pre-diabetes Program; a group of 12 participants at a time who meet to weigh in, learn nutritional lifestyle tips, and share their highs and lows throughout the journey.

How did your educational background lead you to develop pre-diabetic lifestyle coaching program – and to become a volunteer at BIFMC? My undergraduate and post grad experience are in behavioral psychology. (University of New Mexico). After years in counseling, my personal interest in health and nutrition/ physical activity behaviors led me instinctively toward lifestyle change coaching. I consistently recognized how routine healthy lifestyle behaviors serve as the foundation of physical, mental and emotional health. Expanding into the public health world at the U of SC to gain a Master in Public Health, HPHB (Health Promotion, Education and Behavior) provided structure to program development, assessment and measuring outcomes. My MPH gave me experience in community collaboration working to launch our local Healthy Tri County Health collaborative with MUSC Health, Roper St. Francis Healthcare and Trident United Way. I recognized and focused on the value of the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) and created an expansion plan for the NDPP in our community. I am a DTTAC certified Lifestyle Coach for NDPP (8 years) and a Master Trainer Select (3 Years) currently training new lifestyle coaches to offer NDPP in our region. I have been proposing to bring this program to the Clinic for a number of years, and I thrilled it has finally come into being.

How is NDPP currently delivered to patients at the Clinic, and where does the funding come from to support the program? My NDPP at the Clinic follows the CDC Prevent T2 curriculum, where we meet by Zoom for 26 sessions over the course of the year. We meet weekly for the first 6 months and then monthly for the 2nd 6 months. The curriculum is three pronged: Nutrition, regular physical activity and stress management. In small steps, we work to create new routines of healthy lifestyle patterns through weekly topics. Participants gain awareness, knowledge, and accountability to make new habits that will stick for life. Our (blind) outcomes are then reported to the CDC for organizational recognition and program assessment. We have been able to offer the program at no charge to patients at the BIFMC, thanks to a grant partnership with Healthy Tri County and a Healthy People, Healthy Carolina’s grant (Duke University).

How effective has the program been to participants at the clinic so far, and what results have you noticed in participants so far this year in terms of body weight/ risk reduction? Making lifestyle changes is hard, and having the support of a coach and others with a similar goal is invaluable. In this format a group offers support, problem solving and celebrations at each step. Research has proven that losing just 5-7% of body weight can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. At seven months into the year, more than half of the participants have already reached or exceeded their initial 5% weight loss goal, while others are at least halfway there. The average weight loss for this group is 6.1% at month seven. Some participants have begun to report current medical test results, seeing lower HgA1c and fasting blood glucose, improved cholesterol and triglycerides, and blood pressure measures. They report positive feedback from their Health Care Provider. They are very pleased to be able to see the improvements without the use of medications. Likewise folks report feeling better, improved sleep and having more energy.

This particular program is focused on those who are pre-diabetic, or have not yet been diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes. What are some early signs of diabetes, and who might benefit most from taking this course? Anyone who has been told that their blood glucose is higher than normal, or who gets a score of 5 or above on the CDC pre-diabetes risk test, would benefit from this course. Since this is a prevention program for those not yet diagnosed with diabetes, it is encouraged that those who may be high-risk talk to their physician or even take an online risk test, which can be found at The program is also available to the public without grant funding or insurance for approximately $550 for the full year.

Do you hope to see this program grow for patients at the Clinic? What’s on the horizon for NDPP? I hope to continue our momentum and expand availability of the program. Clinic Medical Director, Dr. Peterseim, and the BIFMC staff and volunteers have been great partners. They are committed in their efforts to improve health outcomes of all of their patients. Importantly, I would like to add that this program is available for anyone – not just our patients at BIFMC. Those who may be at risk for developing diabetes can reach out to me on my website for a free consultation or to learn when the next NDPP class begins and how they can enroll. So far, I have new groups starting NDPP every 6 months via Zoom. Folks are encouraged to learn more by visiting I am very proud of the fact that Healthy Plate Living has been awarded NDPP Full Plus recognition by the CDC based on our outcomes and retention for the last four reporting sequences. Currently, we are listed on the CDC NDPP site as a recognized organization to enroll in NDPP.

If you are interested in learning more about the program for National Diabetes Prevention, email or visit You can also learn more by visiting the CDC National DPP customer service center at If you would like to give to support Clinic nutrition and diabetic educational efforts, donate today at

Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic is a free clinic in Charleston, SC, providing free, ongoing medical care for uninsured adults who Reside or Work across the Barrier Islands and their connecting communities. You can sign up for our monthly e-news updates, or follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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