Welcome to the Be Active Your Way blog, the official blog of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG). Follow the Be Active Your Way blog to learn what organizations across the nation are doing to help Americans be more physically active. Learn more about this blog.

Posts tagged: YMCA

Addressing Diabetes Prevention During National Diabetes Awareness Month

Contributed by: YMCA

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Y is working to build awareness of prediabetes. 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, and it’s a condition that is directly improved with physical activity. 

An estimated one in three adults in the U.S. (79 million people) has prediabetes, yet just 11 percent of those individuals know they have it. People with prediabetes have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

In 2010, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance to roll out the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. The program is based on the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program tested by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which showed lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58%—and by 71% in individuals over age 60.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long program beginning with 16 one-hour weekly classroom sessions led by trained lifestyle coach. The program provides a supportive environment where participants work in small groups to learn about healthier eating and increasing their physical activity in order to reduce their risk for diabetes.  Following these weekly sessions, participants meet monthly for added support in reaching the main program goals of reducing body weight by 5-7 percent and participating in at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Through lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction, a person with prediabetes can reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.

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Recognizing Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

By YMCA

New data indicating a decline in childhood obesity among preschoolers is good news – but there is still a lot of work to be done. September is “Child Obesity Awareness Month.” Let’s work together to raise awareness of the prevention and treatment of the No. 1 health concern facing American parents.

One way the Y is addressing this issue is through it’s early childhood and afterschool programs. In late 2011, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) made a commitment, to the First Lady and the Partnership for a Healthier America, to not only be the largest nonprofit provider of early childhood and afterschool programs, but also the healthiest. To keep this promise, YMCA’s across the country have adopted and implemented evidence-based YMCA standards for healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA.) Now Y-USA is encouraging youth and families to integrate components of the HEPA standards into their at-home routine.

Bringing home HEPA—adding a fruit or vegetable at meals and snacks, sharing family-style meals, making water the primary beverage choice, engaging in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and role modeling by parents and caregivers—will surely help families reap the benefits of a healthier home.

One of the key components of HEPA is physical activity. Akin to healthy eating, physical activity must become part of our everyday routine to achieve optimal health benefits. At least an hour of play a day will add significant health benefits, but for many families finding free-time can be challenging. Since busy is the new normal for many, families should take the 3-P approach— Purpose, Prioritize, Plan—to accomplishing their physical activity needs.  

PurposePhysical activity isn’t just for people who compete in athletics, are concerned with their physiques, or have time. Everyone needs activity at different levels.

Prioritize: Physical activity, like brushing teeth, must simply become part of normal day-to-day activities; not an afterthought.

Plan: A family activity plan will help add accountability to the family’s physical activity goals and make it easier to stay on track. The family should plan to revisit, and revise this plan if necessary, as the hustle bustle of the school year takes way; and break up the time if needed, as long as it adds up to an hour, it counts!

Focus on FUN, play first! Don’t be afraid to swap some study time for playtime. Most kids will love to put aside their homework and play with their family and it’s been proven that there is a strong link between physical activity and academic success. Remember, kids who burn more, learn more.

Moderate-to-vigorous activities such as walking to and from work and school, racing to the bus stop, biking, playing tag, jumping rope, commercial break fitness bursts, or after-dinner dance parties are FUN ways to insert physical activity into your daily routine. Not sure which activities are moderate or vigorous? The CDC offers a useful 0 to 10 guide to help you measure your physical activity intensity level.

Increasing physical activity is one of many healthy habits that can be adopted by families to encourage a healthier future. Visit YMCA’s Healthy Family Home for free resources to support your family’s physical activity goals and visit COAM to learn more about Child Obesity Awareness Month.  What are you doing to help families bring HEPA home?