The Y Wins HHS Healthy Living Innovation Awards

CHICAGO (July 20, 2011) – YMCA of the USA, the national resource office of the Y, was recently selected as a winner of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy Living Innovation Awards, which highlights innovative health promotion projects that focus on wellness, prevention and healthy living and have demonstrated a significant impact on the health of the community within the past three years. The Y won the Faith-Based and/or Community Initiatives category for the dissemination model of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, an innovative behavior change model that helps to reduce the burden of diabetes and other chronic diseases in communities across the nation.

“It’s an honor to be recognized with this prestigious award,” says Neil Nicoll, president and chief executive officer of YMCA of the USA. “We need to stop the spread of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity that undermine the well-being of too many Americans and place added stress on our healthcare system. The Y’s commitment to healthy living, experience helping individuals achieve greater well-being and network reaching into 10,000 communities make us uniquely qualified to improve the nation’s health.”

The Y, a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community in part through healthy living, is expanding YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program nationally to help the 79 million Americans with prediabetes prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Organizations competing for this Healthy Living Innovation Award had to demonstrate that they were implementing an innovative project in at least one of three health promotion areas: healthy weight, physical activity, and nutrition. Awards were granted based on creativity and innovation, leadership, sustainability, replicability, and results/outcomes.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which is being led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC has provided funding to 21 Ys to start up the program in their communities.

“It’s exciting to see one of CDC’s partners in the National Diabetes Prevention Program honored for its work to help Americans learn the healthy habits that can help them prevent type 2 diabetes,” said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “The Y’s embrace of this program and efforts to roll it out nationally show how effective we can be in improving Americans’ health when government, community organizations and the private sector work together.”

In April 2010, Y-USA also partnered with third party payers to begin to cover the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program for insured members and employees. UnitedHealth Group was the first payer to reimburse for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and provide funds to programs at Ys.

“We are delighted to see the success of the Y’s dissemination of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program recognized with this prestigious award,” said Dr. Deneen Vojta, chief clinical officer of UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance. “Diabetes is taking a devastating toll on the health and resources of our children, our families, and our communities across the country, but this program has been proven to help prevent the disease. The program can make a significant impact —both in improving the health of people at risk of diabetes and reducing costs to individuals, families, communities, employers, and the health system. We’re very pleased to partner with the Y-USA and the CDC to help make sure this important program reaches millions of people across the country.”

The program is based on research led by the National Institutes of Health and supported by CDC which showed that by eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight, a person with prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by more than half. Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine were able to replicate the successful results of the national Diabetes Prevention Program in conjunction with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis in a group setting.

“The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is one of the few programs proven to reduce type 2 diabetes risk that can be taken to scale nationally,” said Nicoll. “Similar programs may have leveraged the lessons learned from formative research into diabetes prevention programs, but no other community-based program has been independently researched and brought to scale at the national level.”

To date, 42 Ys in 22 states are delivering the program in a total of 156 locations. More than 400 lifestyle coaches have been trained. By the end of 2011, 50 Ys in 24 states will offer the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Expansion will continue over the next five years.
For more information about YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please visit:


About the Y

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

Kelly Kennai
YMCA of the USA

Monday, July 25, 2011

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