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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a good time for people to gauge their risk for prediabetes and diabetes and to talk to their doctors. Of the 86 million people with prediabetes, only 10 percent know their condition. In addition to the high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, people with prediabetes are also at risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. 

Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. 

 “As a leading charity committed to building a community of integrated health across the country, the Y wants residents of Stark County to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps they can take to prevent developing type 2 diabetes,” said Michael Poulsen, Associate Health & Wellness Director, Paul & Carol David YMCA. “Rising diabetes rates cost the nation $245 billion annually for a disease that is preventable with simple lifestyle changes like eating better and getting more physical activity.”

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. 

To address this issue, the Paul & Carol David YMCA will be offering the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program beginning in January 2017. This program helps adults lose weight through healthier eating and increased physical activity, which can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a group-based lifestyle intervention for adults at high-risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and has been shown to reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58 percent overall and by 71 percent in adults over 60.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is a 12-month evidence-based program that features a lifestyle coach who helps participants learn tactics for healthy eating, physical activity and other lifestyle changes during 25, one-hour classroom sessions. Long-term program goals include reducing participants’ body weight by 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

Nationally, more than 47,000 people participated in the program at more than 1,600 sites in 47 states throughout the country. Participants who completed the yearlong program lost an average of 5.5 percent of body weight and completed an average of 160 minutes of physical activity per week.

For more information about how to qualify for access to the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program contact Michael Poulsen at mpoulsen@ymcastark.org or visit www.ymcastark.org.