Knowing the risk factors for prediabetes, a condition that could lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke, could save your life. Of the 86 million people around the U.S. who are prediabetic, nine out of 10 don’t even know it. All it takes is 30 seconds to find out if you’re at risk.
Six months ago, it became clear to YMCA Member Lynn Pierceall that she was at risk. Her weight, after “boomeranging” for years, had plateaued and become a health issue. Poor eating habits and low levels of physical activity were to blame.
Her family history caused an even bigger concern. Two of Lynn’s siblings had already been diagnosed with diabetes. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, having a family history of diabetes places you at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Lynn took action by joining the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which provides those at risk with the skills and support they need to make a lasting lifestyle change.
Within a classroom setting, DPP participants learn tips and have group discussions about healthy eating, increasing physical activity and losing weight. Over the course of a year, their goal is to gradually lose seven percent of their body weight and increase their physical activity to 150 minutes per week.
Since starting the program in February, Lynn has lowered her Body Mass Index (BMI) considerably. She adopted healthier eating habits by checking labels for unhealthy ingredients and high fat content, eating smaller proportions and tracking meals with MyFitnessPal. She even became an active exerciser. Lynn and her peers would often arrive at meetings early and walk together.
Because of these efforts, Lynn has made significant strides in reducing her risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes. In fact, she is now healthy enough to take what she calls “the trip of a lifetime.” In October, she and her sister will embark on a “Viking River Cruise” across Europe. Starting in Switzerland, they’ll coast up the Rhine River, make pitstops in Germany and France and end in the Netherlands.
Lynn used to worry she wouldn’t have the strength to take part in the cruise’s extracurricular activities, hiking especially. But thanks to the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Program, she no longer worries. Instead, she eagerly awaits the challenge.