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A lasting healthy lifestyle; Seminar seeks to help those with diabetes prevention

Austin Daily Herald - 2/12/2018

Feb. 12--The ground rules are written in black Sharpie on a large piece of paper taped to the pillar behind them.

According to the rules, they need water bottles and phones must be silenced; class members should be positive and everything said is confidential. It's all part of setting up the right atmosphere.

This gathering on Feb. 5 in a room at the Austin YMCA is a class on diabetes prevention, being led by Jill Wagner, a certified life coach and the YMCA diabetes prevention program coordinator.

This YMCA program for adults with prediabetes tries to help with lasting and healthy lifestyle changes to reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes. Currently, diabetes affects nearly 26 million people, Wagner said. Another 79 million have prediabetes and are at risk of developing diabetes, but only 11 percent are aware of it.

Research by the National Institutes of Health has shown that programs like the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58 percent overall and by 71 percent in individuals over age 60, the YMCA's website says.

For this year-long program, participants gather in a relaxed classroom setting and work together in small groups to learn how to incorporate healthier eating and moderate physical activity into their daily lives.

At this most recent meeting, with eight people seated at the tables surrounding Wagner and her easel holding a large paper pad -- from which came the ground rules, she's talking about the benefits of getting physical activity, one of the keys to avoiding the onset of diabetes.

It starts a conversation in the group that begins with text book answers, such as it gives you more energy. Then they become more specific: Definitely less pain in my back once I get going, one person says.

Others add that you just feel better about yourself. One woman found a room of praise when she said as a result of her added activity and other steps, she has begun to let herself love herself.

The conversation winds on and turns to the pitfalls of body image and supporting each other.

The aspect of support is huge.

This Diabetes Prevention Program class includes a married couple. "The husband has diabetes so does not qualify for the program because it is designed for persons with prediabetes," Wagner said. "However, he comes as a support person for his wife and fully participates in the program

"Both ... have had great success, and it is wonderful to see them both regaining their health. Their respect and support for each other has been wonderful to watch."

According to the YMCA website, you do not need to be a member of the YMCA of Austin to participate. The cost of the program is $429 but participants can choose to pay the full cost at the start of the program or in monthly payment of $37.35. Financial assistance may also be available to those who qualify.

To learn more, contact Wagner at 507-433-1002 or jwagner@ymca-austin.org.


(c)2018 the Austin Daily Herald (Austin, Minn.)

Visit the Austin Daily Herald (Austin, Minn.) at www.austindailyherald.com

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