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.