Type 2 diabetes can be fought with the right mindset, motivation and education, say YMCA lifestyle coaches who want to help those who are at-risk of obtaining the disease.

It can be a difficult battle to return to a healthy routine and a healthy weight, but it can be easier with the help of trained professionals. The Valley of the Sun YMCA organization, including the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA, is offering the Diabetes Prevention Program to members and nonmembers who are overweight and determined to be at-risk for the disease or who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Over the course of 16 weeks, meeting once each week with a lifestyle coach, participants learn about risk factors, healthy eating, and more. Each week is a different topic.

“The course is curriculum and education-based,” said Margie Poer, lifestyle coach and facilitator for the Y Diabetes Prevention Program at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA. “Evidence has shown that lifestyle changes cause a significant reduction in Type 2 diabetes.”

The program was brought to the YMCA in cities across America by United Health Care. According to Poer, the health care organization ran a pilot program themselves for people who were at-risk and, when numbers came back, ran it by the YMCA.

It has been offered by the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA for the past two years and continues to be rolled out at YMCAs in cities across the country.

“It was spearheaded by United Health Care, who was looking at the insurance costs per client and how it affects someone eventually diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes,” Poer said. “Everybody coming into the program is trying to change their lifestyle. Some are more successful than others, but they all walk away with tools.”

She gave examples of weekly topics such as how to most efficiently incorporate exercise into daily life and how to handle going out to dinner or eating during a holiday.

“The concept is to drop body weight and add activity into your daily routine,” Poer said. “One person can lose 1 pound and one person can lose 23 pounds — if we can get them headed in the right direction, that is what will make them successful.”

Sessions run on a revolving basis. They are offered at YMCAs across Maricopa County and the cost is $150 for YMCA members, and $250 for nonmembers.

To find out more or to register, contact program director Sarah Shimchick at (602) 212-6189 or sshimchick@yosymca.org.

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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