The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County is offering a new program, aimed at heading off the onset of Type-2 diabetes in those most prone to develop the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three American adults has pre-diabetes.
“Pre-diabetes means that your blood sugar on average is higher than it should be, but it’s not yet at the threshold for a diagnosis of diabetes,” said Sandra Park-O’Hara, Administrator of the Department of Health in Santa Rosa.
Those most at risk of being pre-diabetic ,and developing or already having developed type-2 diabetes, cover a wide swath of the population.
· 45 years of age or older;
· Have a family history of type 2 diabetes;
· Are physically active fewer than three times per week
· Were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy; or
· Gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
People with pre-diabetes are 5-15 times more likely to develop type-2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. Many of them will develop the disease within three years if nothing’s done to prevent it. O’Hara says that’s where the lifestyle classes come in.
“Things that we all probably could work to do better,” O’Hara said. “Be a little more conscious of our eating and dietary habits; learning to deal with “stressors,” and [on] occasion stressors that come up that we can maybe learn a little bit about.”
The CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program is based on research from the National Institutes of Health. When it comes to Type-2 diabetes, the data show weight loss is the key to heading it off at the pass. The classes feature a trained lifestyle coach to teach skills needed to make lasting changes in weight, diet, exercise, and managing stress.
You don’t have to train like an Olympian to get the desired effect. Little changes can add up to a big difference. And for those who display neither Type-2 nor pre-diabetes symptoms, Sandra Park O’Hara says keeping it that way involves everything in moderation, and observing the “5-2-1-0.”
“Five fruits and vegetables a day; two hours recreational screen time – computers, TV and those kinds of things,” said O’Hara. “One hour of physical activity a day, and zero sugary drinks.”
If the National Diabetes Prevention program were indeed implemented nationwide, the CDC says it could save the health care system almost $6 billion. It would also prevent about 885,000 future cases of Type-2 diabetes.
More information on the classes in Milton is available by calling DOH-Santa Rosa at 983-5200.