In yet another sign of changing perceptions about the YMCA as a leading organization in chronic disease prevention, the CEO of the American Medical Association has lauded the YMCA as a “model community asset.”
Speaking to the AMA’s House of Delegates during that policy-making body’s Interim Meeting in November, Dr. James Madara recognized the YMCA as a key partner for the AMA’s efforts to improve health outcomes. In particular, Madara cited the positive results experienced by participants in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.
The AMA has launched a pilot program focused on increasing physician referrals of people with prediabetes to the YMCA in three cities: Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Wilmington, Del. Calling the pilot “a new way of thinking about the physician’s link to the community,” Dr. Madara said the AMA plans to expand the program to engage more physicians and Ys in other communities.
He said the program accomplishes two important objectives: 1) helping physicians promote simple but proven disease prevention strategies such as exercise and dietary improvement, and 2) establishing a link between physicians and a community-based organization that engages individuals at risk for health problems.
The AMA’s pilot program is an example of how YMCAs have become an extension of clinical settings – a critical development, according to Dr. Madara, because public health is underfunded. “We need to find new sites like YMCAs that offer huge national footprints and sustainable business plans to add a new and more fiscally stable public health strategy, by pulling in private sector elements,” he said.
You can participate in the Diabetes Prevention Program here in Warsaw and reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and gain tools for healthy living. The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne is offering the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program in Kosciusko County.
Stop by the Kosciusko Community YMCA to get more information about joining the class. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight in order to reduce their chances of developing the disease. Based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.
In a classroom setting, a trained lifestyle coach facilitates a small group of participants in learning about healthier eating, physical activity and other behavior changes over the course of 16 one-hour sessions. Topics covered include healthier eating, getting started with physical activity, overcoming stress, staying motivated, and more. After the initial 16 core sessions, participants meet monthly for added support to help them maintain their progress.
One past participant of the Kosciusko County program says, “I gained a group of friends that ended up being a motivational team. We each brought a wealth of knowledge each month, and I feel that group participation led to our success. I liked meeting each week, and also enjoyed the small group. Our instructor Stacy was great, and she really listened to our individual concerns, while keeping us motivated each week.”
Another program participant says, “I have dropped twelve percent of my body weight, my blood pressure dropped 20 plus points, and my doctor stopped prescribing an oral diabetic medication. I make healthier choices when dining out, I exercise regularly, and I look forward to making even more progress through the program at the Y!”
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The program was started in Kosciusko County with funding from the K21 Health Foundation.
Rich Haddad, President of the K21 Health Foundation, says, “Type 2 Diabetes is a rapidly growing problem in our community. The program by the YMCA has been proven to be effective, and we are very hopeful that people in need of a path toward a healthier life will take advantage of this wonderful program”.
For more information and to see if you qualify, contact: Stacy Thomas at [email protected] or 574-269-9622. Financial assistance is available.