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Sunday, Sep 21, 2014
South Tampa News

YMCA offers diabetes prevention program


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TAMPA – November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA is encouraging residents of Tampa Bay to learn their risks for pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease, according to Lalita Llerena, communications director of the Hillsborough County YMCA.

One in three Americans, about 79 million people, have pre-diabetes, a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 11 percent of those with pre-diabetes know they have it. With awareness and simple actions, people with pre-diabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

Everyone can assess their risk for pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at the YMCA site. 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 pre-diabetes diagnosis.

“As a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the Y wants residents of the Greater Tampa Bay area to understand their risk of developing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes,” said YMCA Vice President of Wellness Programs Pete Cosentino. “Often times, understanding a person is at risk is the first step to making the necessary changes needed to live better, healthier lives.”

The Tampa YMCA is helping to improve health and well-being through its Y Diabetes Prevention Program. Originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Y Diabetes Prevention Program is a one-year diabetes prevention program developed to reduce the risk of diabetes in those with pre-diabetes.

The first 16 weekly sessions cover nutrition, physical activity, and behavior modification to help participants achieve two primary goals: reduce body weight by seven percent and participate in regular physical activity. Upon completion of the 16 weeks, participants move into a maintenance program for the remaining eight months. Some basic lifestyle changes covered in the Y Diabetes Prevention Program include eating fruits and vegetables every day, choosing fish and lean meats as well as poultry without skin, eating whole grains, being active, and drinking plenty of water.

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