How We Know It Works


We know from program surveys that participants in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program self-report many benefits.

For instance, 94% say they have reduced their portion size and 88% say they have increased their level of physical activity.  Perhaps more surprising, 83% say they have improved their self-esteem, 84% say they have more energy and 91% even say they have improved their overall health.

However, sometimes it’s best to hear from folks in their own words. Meet some of our program participants, and let them share their story:

Meet David H. from the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities (Twin Cities, MN)

David lost 12.4% of his body weight and went down two sizes.

After a blood test, my doctor said I was in the prediabetes range and really stressed [diabetes] is a route I don’t want to go. It really didn’t sink in at first.

My mother-in-law had diabetes and I have friends with diabetes, so I’ve seen how hard it can be to live with it.

[The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program] was very thorough and progressive. Each session gave a little different aspect, and eventually you put it all together. I really liked how it all fit together: the way you eat, the physical activity, managing stress—it all matters.

I didn’t realize how poorly I was eating until I started logging my food and counting fat grams. For the first time, I recognized I really needed to change the way I was eating.

My wife wasn’t in the group, but she was really doing the program (in the background) with me, and we worked on it together. We find substitutions for foods we liked that still satisfy us. We have more energy, feel better, and gradually started exercising by walking together. I am down two sizes!

My wife and I made the commitment to do this, and I can’t believe how well it’s gone. My doctor was really impressed with the changes I’ve made; my most recent blood test showed I was in the normal range.

I have to stay committed to this way of life and the change I’ve made. It doesn’t mean I can’t have pizza every once in a while, but I can’t have pizza every day.

My wife and I feel that we need to do this. We don’t want to go back to how it was before. We’ve made a lot of changes, and it’s had a huge positive impact on us and the people in our life.

Meet Jeanne C. from the Eugene Family YMCA (Eugene, OR)

Jeanne lost 18% of her body weight, and her A1c is back in the normal range. In addition, Jeanne’s blood pressure and cholesterol are now in the normal range, and her doctor has taken her off medications for these conditions.

The program has taught us to make reasonable lifestyle changes to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, and this next phase—LIFE—will be an ongoing test of everything we’ve learned during this year together and a challenge to stay focused on our health goals. Always.

I know that we will all stay in contact, because we’ve created a strong bond that goes well beyond a weekly or monthly meeting.

I use my old (food and activity) trackers to plan healthy menu ideas and create my weekly grocery list. Of course, there are some pages that are shameful, but life isn’t perfect. And when I look at the page where I slipped and lost control at the all-you-can-eat buffet, I turn the page and see how I got back on my feet and ate healthy the rest of the week.

I was a perfectionist and was very hard on myself whenever I made mistake. I am gentler with myself now; I avoid the negative self-talk, and if I slip, I get up, brush myself off, turn the tracker page (of life) and keep going.

Moving forward, sometimes slowly, other times faster, but always moving forward. Because I can, and will, take control of my health.

Now, I can’t imagine life without exercising, and I enjoy the energy I feel with a good workout and the challenge of trying new physical activities.

Show up to class. Keep in touch with your coach and fellow participants, and when you slip, get up, write it down in your tracker, then TURN THE PAGE and keep going.

You can do it! I hope it will be a long and healthy road.

Research and Evidence

Diabetes Prevention at the Tipping Point: Aligning Clinical and Public Health Recommendations (Annals of Internal Medicine)

What Others Say About the Program

New Diabetes Cases, at Long Last, Begin to Fall in the United States (New York Times)


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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.