BECKLEY — Community members are invited to join a free program to learn healthy lifestyle strategies to help prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Offered by Active Southern West Virginia, a trained lifestyle coach will work with participants to learn the skills they need to make lasting changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active, and managing stress. Historically this program is offered through health clinics for a fee, but Active SWV is approaching this from a community service angle.
The Lifestyle Management program focuses on prediabetic health indicators, but it is not a requirement to be prediabetic to join the class. People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
“More than 1 in 10 West Virginia adults have diabetes, which ranked West Virginia the second highest nationally, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Erin Reid of Active SWV. “The PreventT2 program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”
Participants will learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes. Groups meet for a year — weekly for the first 6 months, then once or twice a month for the second 6 months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants will celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.
The Lifestyle Management class is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During the second half of the course, participants will gain access to the evidence-based Walk with Ease program, offered for free by Active SWV. This 6-week group walking program can help participants make physical activity a regular part of their routine, with guidance and support to find a routine comfortable for them.
The Lifestyle Management class is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The local program will meet online, on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. starting Nov. 10. Active SWV is working to enroll participants now.
Participants can see benefits of losing weight and reduce future cases of type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of toes, feet, or legs.
PreventT2 is based on research that showed that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) by making modest changes, and reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
“Small changes can add up to a big difference,” Reid said. “Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, PreventT2 participants are making lasting changes together.”
People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:
• Are 45 years of age or older.
• Are overweight.
• Have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
• Are physically active fewer than three times per week; or
• Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
To participate in the PreventT2 program participants must be 18 years of age or older and not pregnant at time of enrollment. These programs are intended for adults at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Participants can take a self-screening test and register for the program on the Active SWV website at activeswv.org.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program brings together federal agencies, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, employers, insurers, health care professionals, academia, and other stakeholders to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people with prediabetes. www.cdc.gov/PreventT2.
To learn more about the program, call or email Reid at 304-254-8488 or firstname.lastname@example.org.