American Diabetes Alert Day is observed annually and will be held on March 28 this year. The day is aimed at raising awareness about the risks and symptoms associated with diabetes among the American public. In honor of this day and its commitment to improving the health and wellness of our community, the New Canaan YMCA is sharing tips for Type 2 diabetes prevention, as well as the recent launch of its Diabetes Prevention Program.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal and affects more than 37 million people in the United States. Although diabetes has no cure, prediabetes can be reversed. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. On average, only 10% of those with prediabetes know they have the condition.
The New Canaan YMCA recommends individuals practice the following diabetes prevention tips based on the National Diabetes Prevention Program curriculum:
• Control your weight; excess weight is the most important cause of Type 2 diabetes. Overweight individuals are 20-40 times more likely to develop diabetes than someone with a healthy weight.
• Increase physical activity; exercise helps improve the ability of muscles to use insulin and absorb glucose, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
• Eat healthier; making dietary changes can help decrease your risk for Type 2 diabetes. Eat a variety of fiber-rich foods including fresh fruits, non-starchy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats such as nuts and seeds.
• Routine screenings with your doctor; the American Diabetes Association recommends routine screenings and diagnostic test for Type 2 diabetes for all adults ages 45 and older.
The New Canaan YMCA recently launched the YMCA’s National Diabetes Prevention Program for individuals with prediabetes in the community. The 12-month, evidence-based program is proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in high-risk individuals. Run with a small group, the program helps participants eat healthier, find new ways to engage in regular physical activity, and lose weight—supporting these individuals in their journey toward a healthier, happier, and more sustainable lifestyle.
The Diabetes Prevention Program at the New Canaan YMCA connects participants with a lifestyle coach and a community of like-minded health-seekers that motivate participants in moving toward and achieving personal health and wellness goals. Led by trained lifestyle coaches, the program strives to help participants achieve two primary goals: reduce body weight by 5-7% and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week.
Bridget Philipp, V.P. of Healthy Living and Membership at the New Canaan YMCA, shared, “The year-long group support that this program provides, along with the leadership of the lifestyle coach gives participants the time, skills, and support they need to reach their goals.”
Research by the National Institutes of Health has shown that programs like the YMCA’s National Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the number of new Type 2 cases by 58% overall and 71% in adults over the age of 60.
Melisa Pelikan, Stamford Health Wellness Nurse Coordinator at the New Canaan YMCA, shared, “It is clear why the Diabetes Prevention Program has proven to be highly effective in preventing T2 diabetes. This program is straightforward and provides the tools in simple, organized, practicable modules that make putting the plan into action manageable. Along with the small group support, thoughtful facilitation, and our commitment to spending some time working together, I have no doubt that this program will facilitate sustainable lifestyle changes. I’m very excited to be a part of this offering at the New Canaan YMCA and sincerely hope many people will take advantage of it.”
To join the New Canaan YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, participants must be 18 years or older, not diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and not currently pregnant. You must also have a diagnosis of prediabetes through a blood test, have been previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or have received a high-risk result on a prediabetes risk test. The program is open to members and non-members in the community. To help support those taking this first step, participants receive a complimentary New Canaan YMCA membership for three months toward the beginning of the program as they begin to introduce physical activity to their life.
For additional information about the Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Eva Saint, Wellness Director at the New Canaan YMCA, at 203-920-1623 or [email protected]. To learn more about the YMCA’s National Diabetes Prevention Program initiative, visit www.ymca.org/diabetes-prevention.