The current health care response to diabetes and other chronic diseases typically involves helping people manage their disease. Today, it is relatively easy to identify people at high risk of developing diabetes through a blood test. However, while an estimated 86 million Americans have prediabetes (over 30% of Muskegon County is prediabetic), only 10% are aware of their condition. Many simply are not aware the disease is preventable or do not know what steps to take in order to reduce their risk. If untreated, most people diagnosed with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Once a person develops diabetes, the effects are irreversible and that person’s relationship with the health care system drastically changes.

The year-long YMCA Diabetes Prevention program consists of 16 weekly sessions and three sessions every other week during the first six months followed by 6 monthly sessions in the second six months. Weekly sessions have topics including fat grams in food, healthy eating out, incorporating physical activity, staying motivated and much more. 

Participants who qualify for the program must be at least 18 years old, overweight (BMI > 25 – could be lower depending on race) and at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes indicated by a confirmatory blood value or a clinical diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes (GDM) during previous pregnancy. If a blood glucose level or diagnosis is not available, a qualifying risk score may be used to enroll.

In 2012, the total cost of diabetes was $322 billion. Currently, one of every three Medicare dollars is spent on diabetes. Medical costs for people with diabetes are twice as high as for people without diabetes. Diabetes hits older adults the hardest: 11.2 million aged 65 and older had diabetes. Half of all Medicare beneficiaries have prediabetes and approximately 33% of Muskegon County is prediabetic. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps adults at risk for type 2 diabetes reduce or prolong the incidence of the disease.

The long term goal of the program is to provide a healthy lifestyle for at risk individuals and families, preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Learn more about the Muskegon YMCA and the program here or call 231.722.9622 x 205 to speak with Kelli DeLong.