YMCA encourages focus on diabetes prevention

Staff Report

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is encouraging residents to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in four Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

“The number of new people with prediabetes continues to rise and with that, so does the importance of helping individuals to understand what a prediabetes diagnosis means,” said Kate Kaczmarek, director of Healthy Living for the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina. “Type 2 diabetes affects not just the person, but entire families as well. The good news is that it is possible to reverse course — simple lifestyle changes reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the Y can help people make the necessary changes to improve health.”

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at YMCA.net/diabetes. Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina is currently registering for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Sessions will begin soon at the Wilkes, Robinhood, and Jerry Long Family YMCAs. A trained lifestyle coach helps participants learn tactics for healthy eating, physical activity and other lifestyle changes during 16 one-hour weekly sessions. Following these sessions, participants meet monthly for added support in reaching their ultimate goals of reducing body weight by 5-7 percent and increasing their physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program have shown to prevent or delay new cases of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent and as much as 71 percent in adults over the age of 60.

The basis for YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that showed how eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight could lead to better health in participants and an overall reduction of new type 2 diabetes cases. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program uses a CDC-approved curriculum and is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program.

To learn more about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please contact Kate Kaczmarek, Director of Healthy Living, at 336.712.2000 or k.kaczmarek@ymcanwnc.org. Visit ymcanwnc.org/diabetesprevention for more information.

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