Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program offers nutrition education, group support

Sharon Davis of Tampa drops off her 11-month-old granddaughter, Kinsley Dennis, at the Kid Zone day care center at the South Tampa Family YMCA before she starts her workout. Davis, 63, lost 13 pounds in the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Sharon Davis of Tampa drops off her 11-month-old granddaughter, Kinsley Dennis, at the Kid Zone day care center at the South Tampa Family YMCA before she starts her workout. Davis, 63, lost 13 pounds in the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program.

TAMPA — When Sharon Davis found out she was going to become a grandmother, she decided she also was going to become healthier.

So she quit smoking. She worked out on and off at the South Tampa Family YMCA, yet noticed a weight gain. She exercised more consistently, but couldn't get back to her normal weight.

Then she heard about a diabetes prevention program that gave her the nutrition education and support she needed.

"I wanted to be in good shape to help take care of my granddaughter," said Davis, 63. "Most importantly, I didn't have diabetes and I wanted to keep it that way."

The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program that did so much for Davis could do even more for the nation, according to a new study in the current issue of the journal Health Affairs.

Public health researchers at Emory University calculated that if baby boomers at risk for diabetes and heart disease could join a proven weight-loss program before they turn 65 and join Medicare, the program could save $15 billion in treatment costs over the boomers' lifetimes.

What's proven to work? Study authors point to a health education program similar to one already in place at 40 of the nation's YMCAs, including 14 centers in Tampa.

The program, created jointly by the YMCA of the USA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be offered in St. Petersburg YMCAs next spring.

Davis paid $50 to participate. But study authors said losing just a little weight — less than 10 percent — has such an impact on medical costs, it would be a bargain for the government to fund it.

"Most of the growth in health care spending is linked to rising rates of diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure — all conditions that weight loss can help reduce,'' said lead study author Kenneth Thorpe, a professor at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.

''Why not shift the focus to keeping people healthy?"

Other studies have established that many people enter Medicare at age 65 with costly health problems, especially since the economy has left more people without health insurance.

But covering prevention programs — especially starting before age 65 — would represent a major shift in government-funded health care. The vast majority of Medicare spending goes to treat disease, not maintain health.

That's a mind-set that a lot of Americans apparently have embraced, according to those who recruit participants in the YMCA program.

"Our struggle has been getting people to sign up," said Maureen "Mo" Chiodini, associate vice president of membership and program at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA.

"They say, 'I don't have diabetes, I don't need the class.' "

Still, the program met its first-year goal of enrolling 100 people. Chiodini hopes more people will see the value in prevention and sign up.

Later this fall, the YMCA plans to take the program to employee groups, churches, recreation centers, anywhere there is interest and five to 15 willing participants.

Why does the 16-week program work? Experts say it's because it tackles weight management from all angles and offers long-lasting strategies for maintenance.

Each weekly class has a specific focus such as how to be a fat-gram detective, stress management or staying motivated.

"We have specially trained YMCA lifestyle coaches who facilitate each meeting, but it's really an accountability group where the participants help each other make positive changes," said Chiodini, who oversees the program.

"This isn't for people who have diabetes. It's for those who have risk factors to develop it, they're overweight or have high blood pressure, or are diagnosed with prediabetes.''

Participants must be at least 18 years old. The fee helps ensure commitment but can be adjusted for those who can't afford it.

"The physicians who developed our program found that when people lost 7 percent of their body weight, they reduced their risk of diabetes by 58 percent," said Chiodini.

"There's no magic pill. This is no fad diet. We teach healthy behaviors that focus on losing weight and keeping it off."

Davis, a petite woman who dropped 13 pounds between May and August, is now in the maintenance phase of the program.

She learned how to keep a food log of calories and fat grams, how to shop for healthy foods and order in restaurants, and the importance of an active lifestyle. She also learned about getting back into clothes that hadn't zipped before. And about feeling good enough to keep up with her granddaughter.

"It was life changing," she said.

Irene Maher can be reached at imaher@sptimes.com.

Get with

the program

For more information on the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Shera Goode at (813) 316-6834 or

ydpp@tampaymca.org.

Diabetes on

the rise globally

An estimated 366 million people worldwide now suffer from diabetes, and the global epidemic is getting worse. The International Diabetes Federation this week described the number of cases as "staggering," with one person dying from diabetes every seven seconds.

The federation urged officials focusing on chronic diseases at a United Nations meeting next week to commit to specific targets to prevent cases and to invest in more research.

The figures were announced in Lisbon, Portugal, during the European meeting of the group, which represents associations from more than 160 countries.

It estimated that diabetes causes 4.6 million deaths every year and that health systems spend $465 billion annually fighting the disease. That includes both Type 1 — an inability to make insulin — and the more common Type 2 diabetes, often tied to obesity.

The disease can be managed with diet, exercise and medication, but chronically high blood sugar levels cause nerve damage, which can result in kidney disease, blindness and amputation.

Experts said much of the rise in diabetes cases is due to aging populations — since Type 2 diabetes typically hits in middle age — and rising obesity rates.

Associated Press

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program offers nutrition education, group support 09/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 10:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay to provide groceries to families hit by Hurricane Irma

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay and the nonprofit Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa will distribute food and gift cards Tuesday to an estimated 400 families who suffered power outages and lost food after Hurricane Irma.

    Tampa Bay Bucaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, center, in green shirt, serves a meal at a disaster assistance registration center in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. Winston has purchased 400 $25 gift cards from Publix and is scheduled to present some of them to families who lost groceries after Hurricane Irma from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa at 1907 E Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa. LARA CERRI   |   Times
  2. Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation

    Hurricanes

    JUNCOS, PUERTO RICO — In the heat and humidity here in the central mountains, Meryanne Aldea fanned her bedridden mother with a piece of cardboard Sunday as the ailing woman lay on her side, relieving a large ulcer in her back.

    A man walks from Juncos in search of gasoline. The mountain town is one of the most affected by Hurricane Maria's pass through Puerto Rico. [Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo | Washington Post]
  3. President Donald Trump during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., Sept. 22, 2017. Trump called for football fans to boycott NFL games unless the league fires or suspends players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Worst-Case (Keenum) scenario

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis in their latest podcast.

    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) scrambles away from Bucs defensive end William Gholston (92) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Tonight: Hear ideas for remaking downtown Tampa interchange

    Transportation

    TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.

    The Florida Department of Transportation renamed its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan is now known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. [Florida Department of Transportation]