The Fit Body & Soul Program is a diabetes and chronic disease prevention program. The long-term goal of the Fit Body & Soul Program is to reduce obesity & type 2 diabetes (T2D). The immediate goal of our program is to reduce diabetes risk factors by promoting the adoption of healthy lifestyles.Fit Body and Soul uses “Body and Soul” approaches to deliver the lifestyle component of the highly successful clinically based “Diabetes Prevention Program” (DPP) which has been modified with group participation.

The Fit body and Soul program is offered in community settings in partnership with organizational leaders and officials along with guidance from experts from both DPP and other Fit Body and Soul programs. We utilize this intervention as an effective way of reducing excess weight, physical inactivity, and elevated blood sugar (risk factors for T2D). We focus on residents of the Mason Square neighborhood of Springfield, MA, a group with more T2D and more T2D risk factors including more pre-diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity than other areas of the city. Fortunately, recent clinical trials have shown that intensive lifestyle modification programs can be “efficacious” diabetes prevention interventions for adults at high risk for T2D.

Through improving dietary behaviors and increasing physical activity (PA), these programs lead to modest weight loss, lowered blood sugar and reduce future risk of T2D.This strategy is consistent with a growing trend to involve community organizations, especially faith organizations, in health promotion.

The program is delivered by expert-led health advisors and supported by community leaders. The primary outcome is weight loss (at least 7% of baseline body weight). Secondary outcomes are increased PA (at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise/ week) improved dietary choices, and reduction in blood sugar (e3mg/dL). Data collection is done at baseline and 6 & 12 months post-intervention. Our successful implementation of this program reduces the incidence of T2D and the associated mortality and morbidity in the Springfield community.