Free Diabetes Prevention Program set for Gowanda and Springville

The Healthy Community Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of its Diabetes Prevention Pro-gram for anyone 18 years of age or older, at-risk or diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

“Through support from the New York State Health Foundation, HCA will begin to offer the nationally acclaimed Diabetes Preven-tion Program beginning May 1. Classes will form on an ongoing basis all across Cattaraugus County,” said Sharon Mathe, HCA director.

The first classes will begin on Thursday in Springville and Gowanda. Co-sponsored by The Springville Concord Elder Network, classes in Spring-ville will meet on Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hulbert Library at 18 Chapel St. in Springville.

In Gowanda, classes will meet on Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. at Community Place at 1 School St., Gowanda.

Based on effective efforts researched by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Dia-betes Prevention Program will help participants learn about and adopt the healthy eating and physical activity habits that have been proven to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Individuals will receive support and encouragement from both a trained lifestyle coach and fellow classmates as they develop a plan for improving and maintaining their overall health and well-being. The 12-month, group-based program consists of 16 core sessions conducted weekly in community-based settings, worksites or healthcare facilities.

To stay motivated and maintain progress toward program goals, participants may continue with monthly maintenance sessions.

“On average, participants lose 7 percent of their body weight and gradually increase their physical activity to 150 minutes per week. This is a major accomplishment in combating diabetes,” explained Ken Dahl-gren, Cattaraugus County DPP Lifestyle Program coordinator. “The Diabetes Prevention Program is enrolling adults who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes based on a blood test or those at high risk for pre-diabetes. A body mass index over 24 (or 22 for people of Asian descent), a family history of diabetes, older age, getting little physical activity, and having had gestational diabetes all increase the likelihood that a person has pre-diabetes and should enroll in the program.”

Estimates indicate that 79 million Americans have “pre-diabetes,” a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet in the diagnostic range for diabetes.

Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, many people with this condition go on to develop Type 2 Diabetes within 10 years.

“There is an urgent need to address this disease. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing Type-2 Diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Research has shown that the Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by as much as 58 percent. The reduction was even greater, 71 percent, among adults aged 60 years or older,” Dahlgren said.

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or believe you may be at risk for developing the disease, the Healthy Community Alliance is here to help you. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk for diabetes, request a diabetes screening, and call the Healthy Community Alliance at 532-1010 or SCENe at 592-7599, to find out if the Diabetes Prevention Program is right for you.