Altru reaches out to those at risk of diabetesThe National Diabetes Prevention Program uses proven methods to help participants make lifestyle changes that encourage weight loss through healthy eating and physical activity. The vast majority of people living with “prediabetes” don’t know they have it, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
About half of adults in this region are at risk for developing diabetes.
These are the people that Dr. James Brosseau and his colleagues at Altru’s Diabetes Center in Grand Forks want to reach and teach through a new 16-week, group-based program created by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The National Diabetes Prevention Program uses proven methods to help participants make lifestyle changes that encourage weight loss through healthy eating and physical activity.
The vast majority of people living with “prediabetes” don’t know they have it, according to the CDC.
“Making lifestyle changes is the best opportunity for reducing risk for developing type 2 diabetes,” said Brosseau in a news release.
Participants commit to achieving two goals that have been proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in those at high risk: losing 7 percent of their initial body weight and exercising 30 minutes, five times a week.
“If we can get people to lose 7 percent of their body weight — which, for a person who weighs 200 pounds, is 14 pounds — it doesn’t sound like much but seems to be enough to reduce risk,” Brosseau said.
The structured program will be led by certified lifestyle coaches and assisted by Altru doctors, dietitians, YMCA fitness trainers and other specialized personnel.
They will provide information, support and guidance while fostering positive group dynamics in an encouraging environment.
The group format has been proven effective in achieving weight loss, he said. “It’s like group therapy.”
Instructors will also teach participants how to recognize and overcome barriers to healthy eating and physical activity.
Dietitians will help participants with individual meal-planning.
Classes will meet Tuesdays, beginning this week, at the Altru Family YMCA in Grand Forks. Participants use the Y facility at no charge during the program.
The initial, 16-week program will be followed by a six-month session during which participants meet monthly for more support and learning.
Cost for the program is $200; $50 will be returned to the participant at the end of the program if attendance requirements are met.
Those who suspect they may be at risk for diabetes can contact Altru Diabetes Center for a free blood glucose screening test.
For more information, call Janet Sherette at (701) 780-1838.
Bulging national profile
The CDC has determined that about two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and half of those are obese. About 17 percent of youth were obese in 2010.
And, unless something is done, “it’s going to grow worse over the next few years,” said Brosseau.
“A lot of it has to do with eating habits and lack of exercise,” said Brosseau. “The answer to (preventing diabetes) is very evident.”
People with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC. However, they are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Other devastating results of type 2 diabetes can include kidney failure, vision loss and amputation of limbs, Brosseau said.
People with prediabetes are 10 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people with normal blood sugar levels, the CDC states.
Risk factors for prediabetes
Characteristics that could increase one’s risk of having prediabetes are:
• 45 years of age or older
• Parent, sister or brother with diabetes
• Family background: African-American, Hispanic-Latino, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander
• Had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or gave birth to baby weighing 9 pounds or more
• Physically active fewer than 3 times a week
This is the second, group-based class that Altru Diabetes Center has offered. The first, developed several years ago at Altru and based on a CDC program, was funded by a grant from the Dakota Medical Foundation.
Call Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1107; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.