November 1, 2016

Communications & Stakeholder Relations
(916) 795-3991
Brad W. Pacheco, Deputy Executive Officer
Wayne Davis, Chief, Office of Public Affairs
Contact: Bill Madison, Information Officer

California Department of Public Health
(916) 440-7259
Contact: Ali Bay, Deputy Director of Communications

Program designed to prevent type 2 diabetes

SACRAMENTO, CA - November is National Diabetes Month, and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) today announced that it has joined the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) efforts to prevent diabetes by implementing diabetes prevention programs for all CalPERS members beginning in January 2017.

The diabetes prevention programs follow the standards of the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CalPERS programs are designed to slow and prevent type 2 diabetes among CalPERS members who have prediabetes. The programs are an expansion of the current diabetes component of the CalPERS Disease Management program.

Prediabetes is a condition in which a person's blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough for the individual to be considered diabetic. One in three Americans has prediabetes, but 90 percent of them are not aware they have it. Those at risk for prediabetes have one or more of the following factors:

  • A family history of diabetes
  • Are older than age 40
  • Are overweight
  • Have a history of high diabetes or high blood sugar when pregnant
  • Have high blood pressure

"We believe that diagnosing and treating prediabetes will be a key element in reducing the incidents of type 2 diabetes among our members," said Doug McKeever, CalPERS deputy executive officer for Benefit Program Policy and Planning. "We know that prediabetes can often be reversed with realistic lifestyle changes, and our health plans will offer diabetes prevention programs to all members who are diagnosed with this condition."

The CalPERS diabetes prevention programs will consist of a comprehensive year-long effort that emphasizes weight loss through exercise, healthy eating, and behavior modification. Participants will be led by trained lifestyle coaches who empower them to take charge of their health and focus on lasting results.

Participants in a CalPERS diabetes prevention program must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a Body Mass Index of at least 24 (or 22 if Asian)
  • Have a blood test result in the prediabetes range in the past year, or have been previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • Have no previous diabetes diagnosis

Members can contact their CalPERS health plan to get more information about its diabetes prevention program, or visit the CalPERS Diabetes Prevention Program web page.

CDPH is the lead in California for implementing CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program.

"CDPH is pleased to join forces with CalPERS to connect diabetes prevention efforts with the availability of DPP programs," said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "Diabetes is a serious health condition that is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. CDPH's partnership with CalPERS will ensure availability of an effective lifestyle change program that can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes."

The CDPH website has more information on preventing diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.8 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS' total fund market value currently stands at approximately $300 billion. For more information, visit