Diabetes program good news

Published 9:47 pm Friday, June 24, 2016


Here’s the bad news: One-third of American adults are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. That figure is likely even higher in Suffolk and Western Tidewater, which grapples with a rate of diabetes diagnoses, complications and deaths far higher than the state average.

But here’s the good news: Type 2 diabetes is preventable and reversible, especially if diabetics or pre-diabetics make an early commitment to significant lifestyle changes and work with their doctors and other health professionals to manage their diet and medications.

More good news is that numerous organizations in our area are helping people with diabetes or pre-diabetes learn how to overcome their risk.

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One such program at the Suffolk Family YMCA, the Diabetes Prevention Program, is a nationwide curriculum developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The yearlong plan helps pre-diabetic adults reduce their chance of developing diabetes.

Sarah Crouch, health and wellness director at the Suffolk Family YMCA, said all of the participants in the first course finished in May and are no longer pre-diabetic. The goal of the program was simple: participants aimed to reduce their body weight by seven percent and increase their physical activity to 30 minutes a day, five times per week.

Such steps can make a big difference for someone on the verge of diabetes. And, thanks to a grant from the Obici Healthcare Foundation, the cost of the program is lowered from the normal $379 for members and $429 for non-members to make it affordable.

Group motivation may be just what’s needed for many people to decrease their diabetes risk. There’s nothing like hearing that it’s worked for other people to encourage another person to get started.

We applaud the YMCA and the Obici Healthcare Foundation for offering this program and making it affordable. With more rounds of classes beginning soon, before long we should see a dent in the diabetes rates here in Suffolk. And that’s something to cheer about.