Diabetes Prevention Program starting at YMCA

Recorder Staff
Published: 10/3/2017 10:22:07 PM

GREENFIELD — In about two decades, the estimated percentage of Massachusetts residents with diabetes doubled.

The numbers have prompted the state to support opportunities for people to get their health in check.

Starting in October, the Greenfield YMCA will run its year-long diabetes prevention program — the fourth installment in the two years since state data was released in 2015 showing an uptick in diabetes rates from 3.8 percent to 8.9 percent among Commonwealth residents.

The program looks to stop diabetes in its tracks, before the irreversible Type 2 diabetes onsets.

“It’s a lifestyle change program,” the program’s coordinator Stacie Baumann said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

YMCA’s grant-funded Diabetes Prevention Program is for anyone showing signs of having prediabetes.

A person can be recommended by their doctor’s assessment, or if they fall under the two specific criteria, one with lab results and the other through a set of questions of predeterminates, like whether family members have diabetes and your height relative to your weight. Participants also have to be at least 18 years old.

The year-long program, with 25 sessions, does cost $429, which includes a silver membership to the YMCA. Baumann said the price is on a sliding scale and is meant to be affordable for people, so you may not have to pay the marketed price tag if you qualify.

The way the program works is it has two main goals: to lose 7 percent of your body weight and to have 150 minutes of physical activity on the weekly basis. The exercise can be done anywhere, including walking outside.

“The emphasis on this isn’t necessarily exercising at the YMCA,” Baumann said. “It’s a support group. It’s to ward off diabetes.”

When the group of six to 12 participants meet each week, they will gather at the YMCA for an hour educational session, discussing ways to continue to lose weight and fend off diabetes.

“There are probably a lot of people in Franklin County that don’t realize they’re at risk,” Baumann said.

Baumann hopes that this program will help get people into healthy habits, which include exercising regularly.

The evidence-based, Center for Disease Control and Prevention-developed program has run in 47 states across the country, according to the YMCA. People typically see about a 5.5 percent weight loss by the end of the year, according to the YMCA data from Sept. 2015.

Locally, among the two programs already completed in Greenfield in the past year, participants who completed the year-long prevention program lost an average of 7.7 percent of their starting body weight — above the national average. In other words, for someone 200 pounds, on average, they would have lost about 15 pounds.

“We’re trying to make Franklin County healthier,” Baumann said. “That’s really what the gist of it is about.”

YMCA looking for participants

Greenfield YMCA is looking for participants in its year-long, 25-session diabetes prevention program.

It will begin this Thursday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m. The program is also looking to run a morning group, if it can get enough people to run it. Groups are about six to 12 people each.

People must be qualified to participate, showing signs of having prediabetes, either through lab testing or through a handful of questions that can be answered at the YMCA.

If interested, contact Stacie Baumann at 413-773-3646, ext. 449 or at sbaumann@ymcaingreenfield.org for more information.

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