News and Announcements

Press Release -- BERKELEY, Calif., Feb. 24, 2014

NutritionQuest (, a health and wellness research company in Berkeley, CA has launched their latest online intervention program, which aims to change the course of patients with diagnosed pre-diabetes. The program, which features a highly individualized website, Android and iPhone apps, tailored emails, an interactive voice response coaching program, and tailored mailed newsletters, is the first of its kind to focus on diabetes prevention.

Alive-PD (Prevent Diabetes) enables pre-diabetics to adopt the lifestyle changes that are proven effective in reversing the progression to diabetes. "The national Diabetes Prevention Program proved it's possible to slow the progression of pre-diabetes through face-to-face behavioral interventions," says Dr. Gladys Block, lead developer of the program, and Prof. Emerita of Public Health at U.C. Berkeley. "With Alive-PD we hope to demonstrate that pre-diabetics can achieve significant behavior change via a highly individualized, yet completely automated program."

Using a multi-modal approach that includes online, mobile, telephony, and traditional outreach components, Alive-PD can reach the millions of pre-diabetics who need help. "Most people know that they need to change their behaviors, but they need coaching and support throughout the process to be successful," said Block.

The intervention distills the expertise of behavioral researchers and diabetes educators into a 36-week program that automatically adapts intervention messages and program actions to reflect the level of user interaction. Those with successful interactions are rewarded and encouraged, while those who find behavior change more challenging receive specialized coaching.

Features of the program include personalized activity planning tools, individualized goal setting and reporting, performance logging, specific dietary and activity advice tailored to patients' self-reported behaviors, as well as engagement features including a points system, team play and challenges. The program promotes interaction via social media and the direct support of family and friends, and also includes traditional health education articles, infographics, and self-testing quizzes.

A randomized trial of the program, conducted in collaboration with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), has recently begun. Kristen Azar, RN, leads the study's data collection component at PAMFRI, where over 300 people are being recruited. Volunteers for the study must be members of the PAMF health care organization, have a confirmed blood test of pre-diabetes, and be overweight. They will come to the clinic in Palo Alto three times to have their blood and other measurements made. Participants will be randomized to receive the Alive-PD program immediately or after a six-month delay.

Development and testing of Alive-PD has been funded in part through a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research grant from the US National Institute of Nursing Research. Alive-PD is based on the behavioral approaches proven effective in a previous program, Alive!.

Pre-diabetes is an often undiagnosed medical condition in which one's blood sugar is elevated (100 to 125 mg/dl) but still below the diabetic level. Around 79 million American adults have pre-diabetes, and without treatment, half of those will become diabetic within 10 years. "We intend to change that", adds Block, "by applying the principles of effective behavior change in an intensive, automated intervention program."

Because it is fully automated, Alive-PD has the ability to reach very large numbers of pre-diabetics at low cost, and with little administrative burden for adopting organizations. Alive-PD is now available, to individuals and to organizations, through NutritionQuest., 510-704-8514. More information can be found at

Contact: Gladys Block,, 510-301-2984. Torin Block,, 510-704-8514. Kristen Azar, Nurse Researcher,, 650-614-3246.

About NutritionQuest:

NutritionQuest, a privately held company in Berkeley, California, provides low-cost wellness programs for organizations and industry, and is a recognized leader in nutrition and activity assessment for public health research. Clients included hundreds of US and international universities, the US National Institutes of Health, USDA, as well as NASA. NutritionQuest is responsible for the development of the nutrition assessment tool used weekly by astronauts on the International Space Station.
Dr. Block, Prof. Emerita of Public Health at U.C. Berkeley, discussed the program's design at Stanford:


Earlier News and Announcements

International Innovation: "Tools to Tackle Pre-Diabetes". An Interview with Dr. Gladys Block.

The Alive program for prediabetes
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and the leading cause of kidney failure, blindness, and non-traumatic lower limb amputations. "Prediabetes", having an elevated blood sugar level approaching the diabetic range, affects 79 million people in the US -- around 35% of the US adult population. Without lifestyle change most prediabetics will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years of diagnosis.

Beginning January 2014, Nutritionquest, in collaboration with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), will start recruiting participants for a randomized trial of Nutritionquest's AlivePD program. AlivePD is an automated, individualized electronic health coaching program designed to improve the diet and physical activity behaviors of participants with prediabetes. Development and testing of AlivePD has been funded through a fast-track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the US National Institute of Nursing Research. The program builds on the success of Nutritionquest's Alive program, which was proven effective in an earlier randomized trial. AlivePD includes all new content, a redesigned interface, an Android+iPhone app, and multiple new features and functions designed to incentivize participation and increase engagement. The randomized trial will recruit participants from the PAMF patient population with blood sugar levels in the prediabetic range. Participants will be randomized at baseline to receive either the automated AlivePD health coaching program or the "standard of care" for prediabetic patients. All subjects will have their hemoglobin A1C levels measured when enrolling in the study, and at two clinic visits following the conclusion of the intervention.

"HealthWatch: Email Program Helps People Make Healthy Choices", CBS San Francisco, July 12, 2011

"Too Fat? Read Your E-Mail" Sanjay Gupta, M.D., TIME, June 15, 2009

"Email Intervention at the Workplace Increases Employees' Health" Tudor Veiru, Science Editor, Softpedia, May 16, 2009

"Log On, Lose Weight" Video Segment NBC News: Bay Area, May 19, 2009