One in three Americans has prediabetes, yet few realize they are at risk.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and
the YMCA of the Inland Northwest is encouraging residents of the Spokane community to learn their risks for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce developing the disease. Currently, one in three Americans, 79 million
people, has pre-diabetes, a condition where a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for them to be diagnosed with diabetes. With awareness and simple actions, people with pre-diabetes may prevent the onset of the disease.
Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age,weight, and activity level, among others. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm if a person has diabetes or pre-diabetes. Hope exists in a program at the YMCA developed by the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.
“The YMCA is dedicated to improving our community’s health and well-being by helping area residents understand their risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. We are well positioned to assist with identified community needs by providing a supportive environment where small steps of prevention can improve countless lives,” said Steve Tammaro, President and CEO, YMCA of the Inland Northwest. “Choosing to make healthy changes is the first step.”
The YMCA can be part of the solution to the problem of the health disparity gap as noted in the Spokane Regional Health District’s report, Odds Against Tomorrow, Health Inequities in Spokane County. One effort is bringing the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program to the East Central Community Center as a result of a grant from the Greenstone Foundation. The program is being offered to participants who may not have the opportunity otherwise. The cost of the ECC program is just $15.
“The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle modification program that helps people prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes as well as lose 5-7% of body weight through healthier eating and increased physical activity,” says Mindy Wallis, Healthy Living Coordinator, YMCA of the Inland Northwest. The program is led by a trained Lifestyle Coach in a classroom setting over 1 year, beginning with 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly maintenance.
Program participant Don is just one example of how the program can change lives. Don came to the program at over 400 pounds as a result of a high-stress job which often led to unhealthy, fast food choices which contributed to a rather negative outlook on life. As a result of his participation in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, he has lost over 100 pounds, has made significant improvements to making healthy food choices, and exercises regularly five days a week. His perspective has changed and he now finds the positives in life, where before he only saw the negative. Don is not the only one in his family to achieve success through the program, his niece and two sisters have also seen the benefits of making
healthier lifestyle choices. Don credits the YMCA for saving his life.
While the nation’s obesity epidemic and the rise in type 2 diabetes is well chronicled, the number of people with pre-diabetes remains a growing and often underreported condition.
Currently, only 7 percent of those with pre-diabetes know they have it, which increases their risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease, stroke and other conditions.
To help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the Y offers some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living that can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes.
Among these are:
• Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choose fish, lean meats, and poultry without skin.
• Aim for whole grains with every meal.
• Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
• Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.
To learn more about the YMCA of the Inland Northwest’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please contact Mindy Wallis at 509-777-9622 x 446 or email@example.com
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