BY SARAH FRANTZ ISOM, MPH, CHES
Some people may already know they are at risk or have a family history of diabetes, but do you know if you are prediabetic already or have a significant risk for prediabetes? Prediabetes is when a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Prediabetes increases the risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Over 86 million American adults, more than one out of three people, have prediabetes, and nine out of ten people with prediabetes do not even know they have it, as there are no symptoms. Most people don’t know they have prediabetes until they go to a health care professional and have their blood sugar levels tested.
But, there is hope! 58% of people with prediabetes CAN reduce their risk of developing type-2 diabetes by participating in a structured, lifestyle-change program such as NC MDPP.
The North Carolina Minority Diabetes Prevention Program (NC MDPP), hosted by the Forsyth County Department of Public Health in Winston-Salem, coordinates classes designed to empower people at risk for prediabetes to take charge of their health and well-being. The program is free and delivered by trained lifestyle coaches who are there to help participants every step of the way to reducing their likelihood of being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Each hour-long lesson introduces one strategy that has been proven to help prevent type-2 diabetes. Lessons also include simple steps that participants can take to eat healthy and be active, and are designed to motivate each participant to make changes in his or her life to prevent diabetes.
During the free 12-month program, participants will work with a trained lifestyle coach, receive support from others working on the same goals, be empowered to make healthy eating and physical activity choices, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, identify effective ways to manage stress, and implement strategies to stay motivated. Phase one of the program includes at least 16 lessons focused on the basic strategies needed to prevent diabetes, and phase two includes at least six lessons that provide additional support and cover specific topics, such as stress and eating, maintaining weight during the holidays, heart health, healthy cooking, and strategies to manage and maintain weight loss.
People with the following risk factors should strongly consider joining NC MDPP today. Participation in the program is first-come, first-served, and participants can register by contacting the NC MDPP Program Coordinator at 336-703-3219.
Prediabetes Risk Factors:
- Being 45 years or older
- Being overweight
- Having a family history of type-2 diabetes
- Having high blood pressure
- Having a sedentary lifestyle
- Experiencing gestational diabetes or birthing a baby over 9 pounds.