Skip to main content

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious health condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and blindness. 

About the Program: As a leading nonprofit for strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y believes that all people should be able to live life to its fullest, healthiest potential. In the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program a trained lifestyle coach will introduce topics in a small classroom setting and encourage participants as they explore how healthy eating, physical activity and behavior changes can benefit their health.

How It Works: The 12-month group-based program consists of 16 core sessions (one hour a week for 16 weeks in a row), followed by 9 more sessions over the rest of the 12 month period. The program is led by a trained lifestyle coach who facilitates a small group of people with similar goals.

We discuss topics such as healthy eating, increasing physical activity, reducing stress, problem solving, and much more.

Program Goals:

  • Lose 7% of your body weight

  • Gradually increase your physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week.

You will do this by learning strategies for:

  • Healthy Eating — Eating smaller portions, reducing fat in your diet and discovering healthier food options has been proven to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

  • Increasing Physical Activity — Studies have repeatedly shown that moderate-intensity activity (like walking, swimming, dancing) for as little as 30 minutes, five days a week can help improve your blood pressure, raise your good cholesterol and prevent blood flow problems.

  • Losing Weight — It has been shown that reducing your body weight by even a small amount (as little as 7%) can offer tremendous benefits for people at risk for diabetes.

Based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program has been shown to reduce the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes by as much as 58%. The reduction was even greater, 71%, among adults age 60 years or older.

Program Format

In a small group classroom setting, a trained Lifestyle Coach helps participants change their lifestyles by learning about healthy eating, physical activity, and other behavior changes over the course of a year. This is NOT an exercise class. Topics covered include healthy eating, overcoming stress, staying motivated, getting started with physical activity, and more.

Information for Health Professionals

Through our expertise in chronic disease prevention, the Y can help you help your patients.

As a leading nonprofit strengthening community, in part through healthy living, the Y knows that in order to remain healthy, patients diagnosed with prediabetes often need to make lifestyle changes. We also understand that such changes can come with challenges, and that having a reliable support system can not only make adjustments easier for your patients, but also help ensure that they stay motivated.

The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program – based on research by the National Institutes of Health and part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – is a proven, community-based disease prevention resource that can provide your patients with the support they need to adopt the behaviors you recommend to improve their condition. It uses a classroom setting and peer support to introduce and emphasize the benefits of:

  • Healthy eating.

  • Moderate physical activity.

  • Modest weight loss.

  • Staying motivated.

At the Y, we believe all people deserve the opportunity to live full, healthy lives. When you refer patients to the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program you can rest assured that they are receiving help and guidance from trained lifestyle coaches who understand the many day-to-day changes they are trying to make. We will work closely with them to make sure that their efforts are supported and that they develop the kinds of healthy habits that we know can help delay, or even prevent, the onset of type 2 diabetes.