The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
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Diabetes - Are YOU At Risk?

Diabetes - Are YOU At Risk?

By Nicole Martinovich,

How many times have you heard the word “diabetes”, or “prediabetes” in the last week? Probably a few or maybe even more than a few. That’s because it is a national health problem. 

Currently, diabetes affects nearly 26 million people in the United States, over 2 ½ million in California and over 24 thousand people here in Sonoma County. 

Recent studies estimate that 79 million Americans over the age of 20 have prediabetes. That’s about one in three adults with prediabetes, yet only 7 percent of those individuals know they have it. People with prediabetes are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and stroke. People who are overweight, inactive and over the age of 45, or have been told by their doctor they have prediabetes, are at risk for type 2 diabetes. 

As a leading non-profit committed to improving the nation’s health and well-being, the Sonoma County Family YMCA is encouraging people in Sonoma County to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and take the steps to prevent the disease. To that end, the SCFYMCA is launching the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program in October. This evidence-based program is part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. Currently the program is offered in 36 states at 92 YMCAs.

If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, and meet the program qualification criteria, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program provides a supportive classroom environment where you can work with others in a small group setting to learn how to create lifestyle changes in order to help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. 

This 12 month program starts with 16 weekly sessions where topics, such healthy eating, increasing physical activity, reducing stress and problem solving are explored. The 16 weekly sessions are followed by monthly sessions for the remainder of the 12 month program to continue to reinforce the changes you made during the beginning of the program, and introduce new topics to maintain your healthful new lifestyle.

The program goals are to reduce weight by 7% and gradually increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Healthy eating; eating smaller portions, reducing fat intake and making healthier food choices have been proven to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Studies show that moderate physical activity for as little as 30 minutes a day, five days per week can help improve blood pressure, raise good cholesterol and prevent blood flow problems.  

It has also been found that by reducing body weight even by as little as 7% can offer great benefits for people at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health, the program has been shown to reduce the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%, and 71% for adults aged 60 or older.

As a nation, we know that our own choices and behaviors – including physical inactivity and unhealthy eating - have contributed to rising rates of chronic disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. We also know that healthier communities are stronger communities, and Y’s are working to ensure that all of the places where people love, work, learn and play support healthy lifestyles. 

The Sonoma County Family Y has been providing programs and services in the county for 59 years. The Y is for everyone and is the single largest, private provider of childcare, youth and family services in the county, serving more than 28,000 people each year. Currently the Y has 19 childcare/afterschool recreation sites and 37 youth sports sites throughout the County. 

This past year the Y taught swim lessons and water safety to over 4,000 children, as well as provided financial assistance for children and families to participate in the many programs we offer. And now, with the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, the Y is once again stepping up to meet the needs of our communities around the nation. 

Ask your health care provider if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, or visit to take a short quiz and learn your risk and of course, contact us to learn more about the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. 

Nicole Martinovich, Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator, 707-545-9622, ext 3412