ELIZABETH, NJ - During National Diabetes Awareness Month, The Gateway Family YMCA is encouraging everyone to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease. 

Statistics for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that one in four Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

“The number of new people with prediabetes continues to rise and with that the importance of helping residents of Middlesex and Union County understand what a prediabetes diagnosis means,” said Krystal Canady, Chief Executive Officer, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Type 2 diabetes affects not just the person but entire families as well, but the good news is that it is possible to reverse course—simple lifestyle changes reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the Y can help people make the necessary changes to improve health,” added Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA.

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Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at YMCA.net/diabetes. Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

The Gateway Family YMCA is helping to improve health through its YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). DPP assists participants who have been diagnosed with prediabetes with making basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living. Moderate weight loss and increased physical activity can decrease the risk for progressing totype 2 diabetes. Among these basic lifestyle changes are:

·       Eat fruits and vegetables every day.

·       Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.

·       Aim for whole grains with every meal.

·       Be moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week.

·       Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.

·       Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight. 

To learn more about The Gateway Family YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, please contact Michael Johnson at 908-249-4809 or mjohnson@tgfymca.org.