Combating Type 2 Diabetes

The YMCA offers diabetes education and prevention programs

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The YMCA of Central Kentucky is working hard to educate people about their risk for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as preventative steps they can take today to reduce the chances of developing the disease.

In the United States alone, 26 million people suffer from diabetes and 79 million people have pre-diabetes. These statistics are alarming, and the impact on the cost of health care and the overall well-being of our communities makes preventing the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes more important than ever before.

The nation’s struggle with obesity and type 2 diabetes is no surprise, but the number of people with pre-diabetes is a growing issue, especially when only 11 percent realize they have the condition. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Often a preventable condition, people with pre-diabetes can reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by adopting behavior changes that include eating healthier and increasing physical activity. People with pre-diabetes are at risk for not only developing type 2 diabetes, but also cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other conditions.

As a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the YMCA of Central Kentucky encourages all adults to learn their vulnerability for type 2 diabetes by taking a risk assessment at www.diabetes.org/risktest. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include family history, age, weight, and activity level, among others.

As director of Community Health for the YMCA of Central Kentucky, we understand learning your risk for pre-diabetes and making lifestyles changes is easy to say, but oftentimes hard to do. The good news is that people don’t have to do this alone – the Y can help through our comprehensive diabetes prevention program, as well as our personal wellness coaching.

Diabetes disproportionately strikes African Americans as well as Hispanic and Latino populations. In fact, diabetes diagnoses are 77 percent higher for African Americans and 66 percent higher for Latinos.

Some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and an increased focus on healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

Eat fruits and vegetables every day and choose fish, lean meats, and poultry without skin.
Aim for whole grains with every meal.
Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of the disease or are overweight.

Investing in your health today can pay off tomorrow. On average, expenses for a person with diabetes are $13,700 per year, more than twice the cost of a person without diabetes. In 2012, the total cost of diagnosed diabetes was $245 million.

Frankly, we cannot afford for this epidemic to not be addressed on a national and local level, and I am proud that the Y offers a solution that meets the needs of our community.

AS A LEADING VOICE ON IMPROVING THE NATION’S HEALTH AND WELL-BEING, THE YMCA OF CENTRAL KENTUCKY ENCOURAGES ALL ADULTS TO LEARN THEIR VULNERABILITY FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES BY TAKING A RISK ASSESSMENT AT WWW.DIABETES.ORG/RISKTEST

Dave Peterson, director of Community Health, oversees YMCA programs for chronic disease prevention and management including the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA cancer survivorship program. In addition, Peterson serves as a YMCA liaison for community health promotion, health equity, and public policy advocacy. He has spent 15 years working for the YMCA of Central Kentucky and holds a BA in Exercise Science from the University of Kentucky and a CSCS from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

The YMCA of Central Kentucky offers Diabetes Prevention Program sessions year-round at the North Lexington, Beaumont Centre, and High Street branches. For information, please contact Dave Peterson, Director of Community Health, at 859-258-9622 dpeterson@ymcacky.org