The Y Wants All Americans to Know Their Prediabetes Risk During National Diabetes Awareness Month

Through its Diabetes Prevention Program, the Y aims to help one million people learn their risk for the disease by March 2015

CHICAGO (November 13, 2014) – November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the YMCA is encouraging all Americans to learn their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes – and to take preventive steps to help reduce their chances of developing the disease.   

New statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in three Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010.  Yet, only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it, putting them at high risk of developing not only type 2 diabetes but other chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke.  Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Fifteen to 30 percent of people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within five years. There is no cure for type 2 diabetes but taking control of one’s health can possibly reverse prediabetes.

“The first step to reducing new cases of type 2 diabetes is for everyone to know their own risk for the disease. By taking a few minutes to evaluate your risk, you can make the necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health and potentially prevent developing the disease,” said Dr. Matt Longjohn, national health officer for YMCA of the USA. “Some people see a prediabetes diagnosis as a positive development – an indication that they are ‘safe’ when in reality a prediabetes diagnosis is a wake-up call for individuals to improve their health.”

People can easily learn their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by visiting the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program page to take a CDC risk assessment test and talking with their primary health care provider to confirm a diagnosis. To help encourage people to learn their risk for prediabetes, the Y, American Diabetes AssociationAmerican Heart AssociationAmerican Medical AssociationDiabetes Prevention and Control AllianceNational Association of County and City Health OfficialsNational Council of La Raza and the National Council on Aging are challenging individuals, their friends and family to learn their risk for prediabetes. Together, they hope to help one million more people learn their risk for the disease between now and March 30, 2015.

Once diagnosed with prediabetes, the next step is to modify behaviors to improve health. This is where programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can help. Weighing nearly 600 pounds, Scott from Glenville, New York, knew he was at risk for developing diabetes and reached out to the Glenville YMCA.

“My weight was putting so much pressure on my knees I could barely walk,” said Scott. “The Y directed me to the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, but I was reluctant because I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew I needed to do something about my weight so I joined. Now I’m down to 494 pounds and I can work out and walk without a cane. The experience I had was great. It has really changed my life.”

Part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a 12-month evidence-based program that includes 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly sessions. The program is delivered in a classroom setting by a trained Lifestyle Coach and provides a supportive environment where a small group of individuals work together to learn how healthier eating and increased physical activity can help reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The ultimate goals for participants are losing 5 to 7 percent of body weight and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

To date, more than 25,000 people have attended at least one YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program session. At the conclusion of the 16 weekly sessions, participants lost an average of 4.6 percent of their body weight. These participants continued their weight loss throughout the yearlong program resulting in an average of 5.7 percent weight loss by the end of the program.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is available at 1,033 locations in 41 states. Visit for more information.


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 22 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.

Contact: Mamie Moore YMCA of the USA 312-419-8418

Thursday, November 13, 2014

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