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Y Diabetes Prevention Program (YDPP)

YMCA of Greater New York

In March 2011, the YMCA of Greater New York hosted a Y Community Forum on Diabetes prevention to raise awareness of the citywide diabetes epidemic and offer community-based solutions to prevent the disease.

Across the United States, more than 25 million people-8.3% of the population-have diabetes, and an additional 79 million are at risk of developing the disease. In New York City, the rate of diabetes is even higher than the national average, with approximately 1 out of every 10 people living with diabetes. Among those most at risk of developing diabetes are older adults, especially those living in low-income communities. Nearly ¼ of New York adults are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. More than 90% may not be aware.

We have both the responsibility and capacity to help our neighbors to fight and not become a statistic. Our YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program (YDPP), an innovative model to reduce the burden of diabetes for New York City families. YDPP uses a group-based lifestyle intervention model designed especially for people at high-risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Trained YMCA lifestyle coaches give participants the tools they need to transform their lifestyles and help them learn about important behavior modifications in a group setting.

YDPP is based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) landmark Diabetes Prevention Program, a clinical trial involving more than 3,000 people between 1996 and 2001. This study showed that with modest lifestyle changes-losing a small amount of weight (5% to 7% of total body weight), healthier food choices, and 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week-a person with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by 58%.

Kerry Watterson

Kerry Watterson was one of the first New Yorker's to take advantage of the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, which helped him step back from the brink of an irreversible disease.

Taught by trained YMCA staff, participants reduce the risk of developing not only Type 2 diabetes, but also a whole host of chronic diseases. In a group setting, lifestyle coaches help participants learn about behavior modifications to help them reduce their chances of developing diabetes. Adults in groups of up to 15 people participate in 16 weekly sessions, covering topics such as healthy eating, getting started with physical activity, overcoming stress, staying motivated, and more. After the initial 16 core sessions, participants can choose to meet monthly for one year of maintenance workshops for additional support, and family members are welcome to attend the follow-up workshops in order to help maintain the participants' progress.

With start-up funding from the CDC and the New York State Health Fund, the YMCA launched the YDPP at two sites in August of 2010; at present, we are operating the program at seven sites in four boroughs. In the first year of operation, more than 200 New Yorkers enrolled in the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program lost more than 1,000 lbs. collectively.

The YMCA's long-standing commitment to keeping families healthy has resulted in the very letter "Y" becoming synonymous with "health." As one of New York's oldest and most respected charities, the YMCA of Greater New York is uniquely qualified to deliver this important program to at-risk New Yorkers, helping them to remain healthy and avoid developing Type 2 diabetes.

"Seeing diabetes put my mom in a wheelchair at 62 was the wakeup call I needed to make serious changes in my life before it was too late. At the Y I knew I wasn't on this road alone."
–Kerry Watterson

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