U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Small Steps, Big Rewards. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Campaign Overview

Small Steps Campaign logoMillions of Americans are at high risk for diabetes, a serious and costly disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the past 10 years. The good news: type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. To get this important information to those at risk, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has created the Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent type 2 Diabetes campaign.

The NDEP has created campaign messages and materials for people at risk for diabetes, including those at high risk: African Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, women with a history of gestational diabetes and older adults. In addition, the NDEP and its partners are promoting diabetes prevention to health care professionals to give them the information and tools to help their patients take small steps to prevent or delay the disease.

The Science Behind the Camp​aign

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a landmark study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that people at increased risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through increased physical activity and a reduced fat and lower calorie diet.

In the DPP, modest weight loss proved effective in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes in all groups at high risk for the disease. To this end the Department of Health and Human Services’ NDEP is mobilizing its partners at the national, state, and local levels to promote the DPP’s findings.

The Campaign's Message

Small Steps: If you have prediabetes (higher than normal blood glucose levels but not yet diabetes), losing a modest amount of weight - for example, 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person - can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. You can do it by building up to 30 minutes of physical activity a day 5 days a week and following a low-calorie, low-fat eating plan.

Big Rewards: Preventing type 2 diabetes can mean a healthier and longer life without serious complications from the disease such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations.

Other NDEP prevention campaigns:

Family Health History and Diabetes
Family health history is an important risk factor for developing a number of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes. In fact, most people with type 2 diabetes have a family member – such as a mother, father, brother, or sister – with the disease.

It’s Never Too Early…To Prevent Diabetes
If you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, you and your child have a lifelong risk for getting diabetes. Learn what you can do to lower your risk.

Small Steps, Big Rewards. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Campaign Components

​Diabetes Prevention Program and Outcomes Study Overview

Learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major clinical trial aimed at discovering whether either diet and exercise or the oral diabetes drug metformin could prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

Diabetes Prevent​ion Materials

Diabetes Articles

  • Activity Counts for All Ages!

    As more and more youth become overweight and less active, type 2 diabetes – once only seen in adults over 40 – is now being found in teens. You can play a key role by helping the children and teens in your life lower their risk for type 2 diabetes, especially if the disease runs in your family. Children and teens can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes if they stay at a healthy weight by being more physically active and choosing to eat the right amounts of healthy foods.

  • American Indians & Alaska Natives: You Have the Power to Prevent Diabetes; The Research Says So!

    “Diabetes is a major threat to our American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” says Charlene Avery, M.D., chair of the American Indian and Alaska Native Work Group for the National Diabetes Education Program. “But it doesn’t have to be. As a community, we have the power to change this by taking a few small steps to prevent type 2 diabetes – for ourselves and generations to come.”

  • Be Aware of Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

    Share this article with local media and your constituents. Add your logo, name, mission, and contact information. Submit it to your local newspaper or include it in your organization’s newsletter.

  • Diabetes Risk Factors: Do You Know Yours?

    A recent survey by NDEP showed that while many Americans are aware of diabetes risk factors, such as being overweight and physically inactive, there is still a disconnect between being aware of diabetes risk, and understanding what that risk means to them. When it comes to understanding their personal risk for diabetes, it appears as if family history of diabetes is really what makes people take notice.

  • Eat Fruits and Veggies to Lose Weight & Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

    If you have a family history of diabetes, or you’ve been told by a health care professional that you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight (10 to 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds). The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has tips for how you can add more fruits and vegetables to your day.

  • Every Family Has Secrets! Could Diabetes Be One of Them?

    Do you know your family’s health history? Or is it like a secret no one wants to talk about? Many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, run in families. Many people who get type 2 diabetes have one or more family members with the disease.

  • Five Ways Older Adults Can Be More Active

    As you get older, your risk for health problems, such as type 2 diabetes increases. You also have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. But it’s never too late to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.

  • Grade-A Grocery List: Tips to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

    Studies show that people at high risk can prevent or delay the onset of the disease if they lose as little as 10 pounds – by walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week and making healthy food choices. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be expensive. Start by planning meals and making a grocery list ahead of time to take charge of what you eat. Follow these tips while grocery shopping to help you and your entire family make healthy food choices.

  • Have a Holiday Heart-to-Heart

    Family history of disease is an important part of understanding your risk for developing a number of serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes. NDEP encourages all families to gather their family health history this holiday season and help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in future generations.

    NDEP encourages you to publish this article on family health history by Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers of the NIH in your organization’s newsletters and on your website.

  • History of Gestational Diabetes

    Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is found for the first time when a woman is pregnant. If you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, you and your child from that pregnancy have a lifelong risk for developing diabetes, a serious disease that can lead to health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and amputations. The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent or delay diabetes and lower that risk for yourself and your child.

  • Holly's Story: Preventing Diabetes with a History of GDM

    Share Holly’s story to help people make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Holly was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during her first pregnancy. Today, she works hard to prevent type 2 diabetes by taking daily walks with her children and replacing snack cakes with fresh fruit.

  • It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes: Take Your First Step Today

    Did you know that as you get older, you have a greater chance of getting type 2 diabetes? It’s true. At least one out of every four Americans  over 65 has diabetes. The good news is that you can take steps to prevent or delay the disease.

  • New Moms Can Prevent Diabetes by Keeping Up Healthy Habits

    Some women get diabetes when they are pregnant. Doctors call this gestational (jes-TAY-shun-al) diabetes. Most of the time, it goes away after your baby is born. Even if the diabetes goes away after your baby is born, you still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and your child from that pregnancy may have a greater chance of being obese and getting type 2 diabetes.

    But there is good news. You can take steps to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and keep your child from that pregnancy healthy.

  • Nunca es muy temprano para prevenir la diabetes tipo 2: Información para usted y su familia

    Learn more about gestational diabetes. Article written in Spanish.

  • Preventing Diabetes for Our Future and Theirs: The Diabetes Epidemic Among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

    Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have long celebrated their rich traditions and cultural heritage. But did you know that your heritage – such as having a family history of diabetes – may increase your chances of for getting type 2 diabetes? The good news is that it is possible to lower your chance – and your family’s chance – for getting type 2 diabetes.

  • Preventing Type 2 Diabetes When You're On-the-Go

    If you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes, plan how to fit exercise and healthy eating into your travel plans. With a little effort, you can stay healthy while you’re on the road.

  • Sandra's Story: Preventing ​Diabetes with a History of GDM

    Share Sandra’s story to help people make lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes. Sandra was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with her son. Today, she works hard to prevent type 2 diabetes in herself and her son.

  • Ten Ways American Indians Can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

    Although American Indians are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, there is good news: type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by making small lifestyle changes in diet and physical activity. Follow these tips to help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

  • Ten Ways Hispanics and Latinos Can Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

    Hispanics and Latinos are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, but there is good news. You can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by making small lifestyle changes around what you eat and how you stay physically active. Here are some tips to help you.

  • Ten Ways to Shape Up Your Family Reunion to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

    Family reunions offer a chance to bond with relatives, learn about your family history, share recipes, and celebrate together. When learning about your history, it is also important to find out if type 2 diabetes runs in your family. Having a family history of type 2 diabetes increases your risk for developing the disease. Take the first step today toward lowering your risk, and your family’s risk, for type 2 diabetes.

  • The 411 on Healthy Eating

    Although there are lots of diet choices and weight-loss plans available, taking small steps to reduce fat and caloric intake and becoming more physically active is most likely to lead to successful weight loss—and helps to keep the weight off as well.​

Public Service Announcements

  • Get Real - Print PSAs

    Print ads for NDEP's Get Real! diabetes prevention campaign.

  • Get Real - Radio PSA

    Radio PSA encouraging people to prevent type 2 diabetes.

    "You can prevent type 2 diabetes. And you don’t have to knock yourself out. It’s about small steps." 

  • Get Real - TV PSA

    Announcement for NDEP's Get Real! diabetes prevention campaign.

  • Haywood & Family - Family History Print PSA

    Haywood was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005. Today, he works hard to manage his disease and to help his family prevent it. Haywood's print PSA has the message: "I manage my diabetes—and I am teaching my family how to prevent it."

    Encourage publications to use this print PSA to help people with diabetes make a plan to prevent diabetes complications. Use the template cover letter to reach out to Public Service Directors at your local publications.

  • Health Awareness - Radio​ PSA

    Please share this Radio PSA to help your family prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

  • Holly - Family History: Gestational Diabetes Print PSA

    Holly was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GDM) when she was pregnant with her first child. When a follow-up blood test showed she had prediabetes, she began making lifestyle changes to prevent type 2 diabetes. Holly's print PSA has the message: "When I was pregnant, I found out I had diabetes. Now, I am at risk for diabetes for the rest of my life. So is my child. But we can take steps to PREVENT it."

    Encourage publications to use this print PSA to help people with a history of GDM make a plan to prevent diabetes. Use the template cover letter to reach out to Public Service Directors at your local publications.

  • It's Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes - Radio PSA

    These radio spots explain how older adults in your community can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes with a few small steps.

  • Latecia - Family Health History Diabetes Prevention Full-Page Print PSA

    After seeing her mom struggle with diabetes, Latecia knew she needed to make changes in her life to prevent the disease. Latecia's poster has the message: "Diabetes runs in our family, so we are at risk.That is why we are taking steps now to prevent it."

    Encourage publications to use this print PSA to help people at risk for diabetes make a plan to prevent the disease. Use the template cover letter to reach out to Public Service Directors at your local publications.

  • Melinda - Family Health History: Diabetes Prevention Full-Page Print PSA in Spanish

    Because type 2 diabetes runs in her family, Melinda is at risk for the disease. Her Spanish-language poster has the message: "En mi familia hay diabetes y por lo tanto corremos riesgo. Por eso tomamos pasos para prevenirla."

    Encourage publications to use this print PSA to help people with diabetes make a plan to prevent diabetes complications. Use the template cover letter to reach out to Public Service Directors at your local publications. A Spanish translation of the template cover letter is coming soon.

  • Paso a Paso - Print PSAs

    Print ad to encourage Hispanic/Latino people to prevent diabetes.

  • Sorcy & Family - Family History Print PSA

    Sorcy had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant and was later diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Today, she works hard to manage her disease and to help prevent the disease in her family. Sorcy's print PSA has the message: "I manage my diabetes—and I am teaching my family how to prevent it."

    Encourage publications to use this print PSA to help people with diabetes make a plan to prevent diabetes complications. Use the template cover letter to reach out to Public Service Directors at your local publications.

  • Two Reasons I Find Time to Prevent Diabetes Print PSA

    A print ad encouraging people at risk to prevent diabetes.

  • Your Family's Health - Radio PSA

    Please share this Radio PSA to help your family prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

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