November 01, 2016

As the prediabetes rate continues to rise, few Central Florida residents know they are at risk.

Central Florida – (November 1, 2016) – November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a good time for people to gauge their risk for prediabetes and diabetes and to talk to their doctors. Of the 86 million people with prediabetes, only 10 percent know their condition. In addition to the high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, people with prediabetes are also at risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. To address this issue, the YMCA of Central Florida offers the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which helps adults lose weight through healthier eating and increased physical activity, which can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a group-based lifestyle intervention for adults at high- risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and has been shown to reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58 percent overall and by 71 percent in adults over 60.

Central Florida resident Tom Purvis recently journeyed from “prediabetes denial” to regaining control over his life through participation in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Before starting the program, he didn’t care about pre-diabetes. All he knew was that he was feeling overweight, slow, and old, and shops he used to buy clothes from no longer carried his size. He had “no energy” or stamina.

He was giving up or cutting back on many things he used to love to do. Weekends were spent sleeping in to make up for the fatigue he carried all week, and by Sunday he might start on the things he wanted to do, but could not finish them. “I didn’t care about pre-diabetes,” says Tom, “But I did care about regaining control of my life. I did are about feeling good and having the energy to have a life. I cared about feeling confident and looking confident.” Since joining the program, Tom has learned more about the real dangers of diabetes: of injuries, nerve damage, and kidney damage that would have been his future.

After 14 weeks in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, he has lost substantial weight, learned valuable new information, and spent some quality time with other participants in the program. Says Tom, “I have learned about the factors that caused my weight gain, the triggers that encourage it, about the people and social situations that enable it, and most importantly, how to prevent it. I have learned about the importance of daily exercise and how diet and exercise work together to affect my health. I have learned the lifestyle changes that keep the weight from returning. But most importantly, I have learned how to regain control over my life.”

“As a leading charity committed to building a community of integrated health across the country, the Y wants residents of Central Florida to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps they can take to prevent developing type 2 diabetes,” said Kelly Prather, Executive Director of Health Strategies & Member Experience, YMCA of Central Florida. “Rising diabetes rates cost the nation $245 billion annually for a disease that is preventable with simple lifestyle changes like eating better and getting more physical activity.”

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at YMCA.net/diabetes. 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.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is a 12-month evidence-based program that features a lifestyle coach who helps participants learn tactics for healthy eating, physical activity and other lifestyle changes during 25, one-hour classroom sessions. Long-term program goals include reducing participants’ body weight by 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

Nationally, more than 47,000 people participated in the program at more than 1,600 sites in 47 states throughout the country. Participants who completed the yearlong program lost an average of 5.5 percent of body weight and completed an average of 160 minutes of physical activity per week.

For more information about how to qualify for access to the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program contact the YMCA of Central Florida’s Diabetes Prevention Program at [email protected] or visit ymca.net/diabetes-prevention.

About the YMCA of Central Florida
The YMCA of Central Florida is one of the area’s largest nonprofits, serving more than 415,000  Central Floridians per year through a focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. With a Christian-based mission to improve lives and communities, it operates 27 YMCA Family Centers across Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Marion counties. And this mission is expanded beyond the four walls of the Y through community-based programs to combat chronic disease, boost children’s after-school safety and learning, and strengthen fragile families. In 2015, this YMCA Association of over 1,800 employees engaged 23,000 donors, volunteers and advocates, who joined together for the common good. To ensure that the Y remains available and accessible to all, it also provided $5.4 million in program and membership assistance to more than 50,000 children, families and seniors