To describe the baseline characteristics of participants in the Kerala Diabetes Prevention Program.The Kerala Diabetes Prevention Program is a cluster randomized controlled trial of lifestyle intervention for prevention of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in India. Participants in the study were those aged 30-60 years who had an Indian Diabetes Risk Score ≥ 60 and who were without Type 2 diabetes on oral glucose tolerance test. Data on demographic, lifestyle, clinical and biochemical characteristics were collected using standardized tools.A total of 2586 individuals were screened with the Indian Diabetes Risk Score, of these 1529 people (59.1%) had a score ≥ 60, of whom 1209 (79.1%) underwent an oral glucose tolerance test. A total of 202 individuals (16.7%) had undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes and were excluded, and the remaining 1007 individuals were enrolled in the trial (control arm, n = 507; intervention arm, n = 500). The mean participant age was 46.0 ± 7.5 years, and 47.2% were women. The mean Indian Diabetes Risk Score was 67.1 ± 8.4. More than two-thirds (69.0%) had prediabetes and 31.0% had normal glucose tolerance. The prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors was high, including current tobacco use (34.4% in men), current alcohol use (39.3% in men), no leisure time exercise (98.0%), no daily intake of fruit and vegetables (78.7%), family history of diabetes (47.9%), overweight or obesity (68.5%), hypertension (22.3%) and dyslipidemia (85.4%).The Kerala Diabetes Prevention Program recruited participants using a diabetes risk score. A large proportion of the participants had prediabetes and there were high rates of cardiometabolic risk factors. The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of lifestyle intervention in a population selected on the basis of a diabetes risk score.