YMCA of Southwest Michigan offers Diabetes Prevention Program for awareness month

NILES — November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the YMCA of Southwest Michigan is encouraging local residents to learn their risks for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease. 

YMCA of Southwest Michigan is seeking to help improve health through its Diabetes Prevention Program, as well as additional healthy living initiatives for those who want to make a positive lifestyle change, but do not qualify with prediabetes.

Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

• Eat fruits and vegetables every day.

• Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.

• Aim for whole grains with every meal.

• Be moderately active, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

• Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.

Speak to a doctor about diabetes risk factors, especially if the person has a family history or  is overweight. 

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than one in three Americans, or 84 million people, have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

“As one of the leading community-based charities committed to improving the health of southwest Michigan, the Y wants to all people to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps to take to avoid developing Type 2 diabetes,” said Erica Walsh, health initiatives coordinator, YMCA of Southwest Michigan. “Developing Type 2 diabetes not only puts a tremendous strain on our health care system, but impacts the lives of millions of people and their families each year.”

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at YMCASWM.com/YDPP. Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for Type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight, and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

To learn more about the YMCA of Southwest Michigan’s Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Erica Walsh at ewalsh@ymcaswm.com or (269) 428-9622.

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