YMCA program helps to prevent diabetes

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

“I don’t want to know” is a statement Connie Crump hears all too often.

As the chronic disease coordinator and the active older adults coordinator for the Vaughn E. Hairston YMCA, Crump encourages those in her care to get screened for prevalent diseases.

Unfortunately, “I don’t want to know” is the common response Crump receives when they pass on getting one.

She said she knows getting screened for diseases can be a scary thing, but she said it is vital that people do so for their wellbeing.

In the near future, the Hairston YMCA will offer free diabetes screenings to the public. They need 50 people to sign up for the screening and then they need at least seven people diagnosed with prediabetes to enroll in their free Diabetes Prevention Program. One person has already enrolled and is waiting for other people who want to get healthier as well.

The prevention program is taking place throughout most of the central Ohio YMCA’s, but the Hairston YMCA will not be able to participate until they meet those requirements.

For those who are interested, the Diabetes Prevention Program takes place over the course of a year. For the first 16 weeks, participants meet for one hour once a week to learn about nutrition, exercise and making healthy choices throughout the rest of their lives. They are also given free access to the YMCA so they can meet a goal of losing 7 percent of their body weight.

After those 16 weeks have been completed, they meet once a month for maintenance as Venita White, a recent graduate of the 16-week session at the Grove City YMCA, put it.

Allen Thompson, another graduate of the 16-week session at the Grove City YMCA, said this program is invaluable.

Until he participated in a company-wide health fair, Thompson had no idea he was prediabetic.
He said he wondered every time he looked down if he might be at an increased risk of developing the diseases as he was not in the best of shape.

When his test showed he was prediabetic and when he was told he needed to manage it through a program such as the one the YMCA offered, he said his stubbornness kicked in.

Thompson said he doesn’t like it when people tell him what to do or what to eat, but when he met with Angela Jordan, the Grove City YMCA’s chronic disease coordinator, they discussed the program in detail and he came to the realization that he is the only one in control of the choices he makes.

Since starting the program, Thompson has lost two belt sizes and received a dumbfounded look from his doctor when he took his blood sugar levels during a recent visit.

“I never told him I was in the program,” he said with a laugh. “I got scolded for it but he told me to keep it up and keep it going.”

He has even inspired his wife to manage her diabetes and make lifestyle changes.

Dennis Gillman said he intends to teach his grandchildren the lessons he has learned in the program.

“I’m going to be a strict grandparent about this,” he said.

Emma Collins said one of the best things about being involved in this program is that it is peer oriented so there is a support system built it with those who are going through the same thing.

“It really does feel like a family,” Thompson said.

White said she initially balked at the idea of a 16-week program (along with the additional meetings throughout the year) because it seemed excessive, but said being involved in the diabetes prevention program has been life changing.

The Grove City YMCA will be starting a new 16-week diabetes prevention program on Feb. 26.

For more information, contact the branch at 871-9622. To inquire about the free screening or the diabetes prevention program at the Hairston YMCA, call 539-1770. There are qualifications to be involved in the diabetes prevention program: you have to be overweight (have a Body Mass Index of 25 or higher); be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, or be diagnosed with prediabetes. Additionally, the program is only free for those covered under Medicare, Medicare Advantage or United Health Care.

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