Diabetes is a disease so widespread that it's being dubbed a "new epidemic" in some circles.
Certainly, the statistics paint a stark picture. Roughly 25.8 million Americans already have diabetes, and by the year 2030, one-third of Americans are projected to have the disease - a shocking trend that has one local organization leaping into action.
With a a grant from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the YMCA of Marquette County is ramping up the local fight against the disease. A program, set to begin in June, is designed for adults who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. With a goal of reducing risks of developing the disease by focusing on lifestyle changes, the classes will cover a range of topics like handling stress, healthy eating and exercise options.
The Marquette Y is one of 10 in the nation to receive funding for the program - the only one in Michigan, so far.
The Y program is open to overweight adults, 18 and older, with pre-diabetes. The pre-diabetes must be confirmed via blood test or through having two or more risk factors for the condition, such as a Body Mass Index of over 25 or a family history of diabetes.
Over the course of a year, program participants will meet in small groups with a YMCA lifestyle coach as they work to change their behavior and cut their risk of diabetes. The goal is for participants to take off and keep off at least 7 percent of their starting weight, and achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
Diabetes is a scary, costly and rapidly spreading disease - but the type 2 adult onset form can often be avoided. Despite the shockingly high rate of diabetes in the U.S. today, research has shown that lifestyle changes and modest weight loss can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent among people who have pre-diabetes.
We hope the new YMCA program reaches out to people who are struggling with pre-diabetic conditions in our area, and that the central Upper Peninsula takes a leading role in this major new health initiative.
Participants can either be referred by a physician for the program or refer themselves. For more information on program costs or to register, contact Jenna Zdunek at the YMCA, 906-227-9622.