During November, National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Riverbrook Regional YMCA is encouraging residents to learn their risks for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in four Americans (86 million people) have pre-diabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

“The number of new people with prediabetes continues to rise and with that the importance of helping residents understand what a prediabetes diagnosis means,” said Bob McDowell, CEO, Riverbrook Regional YMCA. “Type 2 diabetes affects not just the person but entire families as well, but the good news is that it is possible to reverse course—simple lifestyle changes reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the Y can help people make the necessary changes to improve health.”

Individuals can assess their risk for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test on the YMCA website. Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or pre-diabetes diagnosis.

The Riverbrook Regional YMCA is helping to improve health through the Diabetes Prevention Program. In the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program a trained lifestyle coach introduces topics in a small group setting and encourages participants as they explore how healthy eating, physical activity and behavior changes can benefit their health.

Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
  • Aim for whole grains with every meal.
  • Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.
  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.

An information session on the Y’s Diabetes Prevention Programs is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Wilton Family YMCA branch, 404 Danbury Rd.. Diabetes Prevention Programs are held in Wilton and Norwalk. To learn more about the Riverbrook Regional YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program please contact Mary Ann Genuario at 203.762.8384, ext. 282 or via email.