Tuesday, March 27, is American Diabetes Association (ADA) Alert Day, and the YMCA of Middle Tennessee wants residents across our community to know their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventive steps they can take to reduce the chances of developing the disease.
In the United States alone, diabetes affects over 30 million people; another 84 million Americans have prediabetes, yet only about 10 percent are aware of it. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever (in 2012 alone, the ADA estimates that diabetes cost the health care system $245 billion).
The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise, but the number of people with prediabetes is a growing issue, especially when so few people realize they have it. Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Often preventable, people with prediabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with prediabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke and other conditions.
The Y's role
As the leading community-based network committed to improving the population's health, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee encourages all adults to take a diabetes risk test. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight and activity level, among others.
To address this epidemic, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee offers the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, a 12-month evidence-based lifestyle change program geared towards helping adults lose weight through healthier eating, increased physical activity, and accountability in order to reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.
The program uses CDC-approved curriculum and is led by a trained lifestyle coach who utilizes a coaching approach to engage a small group of participants in shared learning experiences, relationship building, problem solving/goal setting, and peer support. Based on research, the program goals are designed around the idea that small lifestyle changes that lead to modest weight loss can reverse this diagnosis or slow the progression of developing type 2 diabetes.
A changed life
Precious Bond began her journey in 2015 when she came across the YMCA’s program while researching diabetes management programs for someone else. Ironically enough, Precious found out she had prediabetes shortly after she learned of the Y’s program. She knew something had to change, and after reviewing the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and discussing the commitment required for success, she decided to join. After completing the program, she is 27 pounds lighter and is a much stronger and happier person compared to where she was before the program.
“I have learned to make many small changes that have led to sustained weight loss, like by choosing a parking spot further from the door at my job to increase my steps, using smaller plates, bringing my own lunch to work, having healthier alternative snacks around at all times and simply keeping high fat foods out of my home,” Precious said.
Precious Bond’s life changed after completing the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and so can yours.
For more information about how to join the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program in Middle Tennessee, please contact Kelli Mitchuson at 615-256-1719 or visit www.ymcamidtn.org/diabetes-prevention.