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YMCA supports advocacy on Diabetes education

Several studies have shown that structured diet and physical exercise can significantly reduce the progression of prediabetes to diabetes.

The studies entail strict enrollment criteria and lifestyle changes that are difficult to translate into large-scale, community-level programs. A specific program called, Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), done by researchers from the Indiana School of Medicine, is no different from other studies.

In an Indianapolis semi-urban neighborhood, two facilities joined the program and offered the DPP-style intervention to one group and the standard diabetes-prevention advice to the control group.

Throwing its support behind the program is the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Due to its long history of implementing highly successful health programs, they aredeemed to be in the unique position to help develop the study into a large-scale outreach.

They involved 92 participants and divided them into intervention and control groups. Both groups were given baseline educational materials. But those in the intervention program were offered a core curriculum involving 16 classroom-style meetings which focused on building knowledge and skills for goal setting, self-monitoring and problem-solving.

Results for those in the intervention group showed at the six-month follow-up a six percent decrease in body weight vs. two percent in the control group. This meant a 5.7 kg decrease for those in the intervention group, and only 1.8 kg for
the control group—considered a clinically meaningful and significant difference. Another positive result was the change in cholesterol concentration (21.6 mg/dL for the intervention group, as opposed to 6 mg/dL for the control). All these results persisted at 12-14 month follow-up visits.

“This is the first study to demonstrate that the YMCA is a promising vehicle for the dissemination of the DPP lifestyle intervention into the community. In this pilot study, people at high risk for developing diabetes achieved and maintained a mean six percent reduction in baseline body weight and significant reductions in total cholesterol.

“Given these results, delivery of the DPP via the YMCA warrants further study as a model for the wide-scale dissemination of an evidence-based strategy to lower diabetes and cardiometabolic risk for millions of Americans with prediabetes,” wrote Dr. Ronald T. Ackermann, in an article for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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