YMCA offers diabetes prevention program for our readers in Lorain County

By Valerie Urbanik - vurbanik@civitasmedia.com

Eighty-six million Americans have prediabetes and only nine million are aware of it, says the YMCA. Are you one of these people?

If so, the YMCA is offering a diabetes prevention program for Lorain County residents. It’s held in Amherst, Avon, Elyria, Lorain, North Ridgeville, Oberlin, Vermilion, and Wellington.

It’s a 12-month program with 16 one-hour sessions each week, then nine more sessions to finish out the year.

“It really is a commitment” said lead coach Tera Rolf. “Every week has a different topic.”

The topics range from healthy eating to motivation, managing negative thoughts, and becoming a “fat detective.”

The goal of the course is to help residents prevent or delay diabetes by losing seven percent of their body weight and having 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

Rolf said diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and can cause kidney failure, amputation, and blindness.

“It’s going to change your life forever,” she said. “It is very serious.”

“A lot of people walk around and don’t know they’re prediabetic,” said lead coach Liz Edgerton.

Both coaches said the YMCA program really does work. It’s based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research showing a reduction of new diabetes cases by 58 percent overall and 71 percent for adults older than 60.

“It’s not a medical education,” Rolf said. “This is not a diet. This is not short-term. You need our long-term support. That is why it’s a year-long program.”

“Everyone works together,” Edgerton said. Each class has a coach and they are always there for you.

Anyone interested in joining the program must be at least 18 years old, at least slightly overweight, at risk for diabetes, and a Lorain County resident. People already diagnosed with Type 1 or 2 diabetes are not eligible.

Coaches said they do not tell people what to do but instead help them find what works for them and their lifestyles.

Edgerton said residents don’t have to participate in 150 minutes of activity the first week. They’re encouraged to start small and work their way up.

Classes are being offered from noon to 1 p.m. each Wednesday at the Depot Park, 246 South Main St., Oberlin; 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday at Gathering Hope House, 1173 North Ridge Rd., Lorain; and 10 a.m. each Thursday at Lorain County Health & Dentistry, 2745 Grove Ave., Lorain.

Rolf said classes will begin when at least eight people have signed up.

Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact Linda McVey, Rolf, or Edgerton at 440-574-0580 or healthyliving@clevelandy.org.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @ValUrbanik on Twitter.

By Valerie Urbanik