Katie Haq

for Sansum Diabetes Research Institute 

Participants in a Channel Islands YMCA program with the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute are making effective progress toward reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Trained lifestyle coaches facilitate group sessions in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) at the YMCAs in Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. The year-long program focuses on exercise, healthy eating, stress management and problem solving.

Three different sessions of the program are running concurrently, two at the Santa Barbara Family YMCA in English and Spanish, and one at the Stuart C. Gildred YMCA in English.

Program participants, who have either prediabetes or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, are seeing excellent results. At the six-month mark, one group’s total weight loss is more than 72 pounds, an average weight loss of nine pounds per participant.

Participants have a goal of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week and losing 5 to 7 percent of their starting weight, which research shows will significantly reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“It is estimated that over 84 million Americans have prediabetes,” said Program Coordinator and Lifestyle Coach Alicia Michelson. “Nine out of 10 don’t know they have it, and without doing anything it’s estimated that 15 to 30 percent of those people will go on to develop full-blown type 2 diabetes. That’s why action is so important, because you can reverse prediabetes and go back into a normal glycemic range.”

Diabetes Prevention Program participant Kris Geaque with the Stuart C. Gildred Y in Santa Ynez shared her happiness at the half-way mark:

“This program is going to be a significant life changer for me! The instructor is fabulous. The tools from the program have taken me to the next level. My blood pressure has dropped, my atrial fibrillation has been under control and I have lost 10 pounds. Yeah!”

In addition to hosting the program, the Santa Barbara Family Y and Stuart C. Gildred Y in Santa Ynez offer each DPP participant a free month-long membership.

“We are confident with the results so far and we are exploring opportunities to expand and enhance the program to serve more individuals,” said Nicki Marmelzat, Health and Wellness Director for the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA in Santa Ynez.

The Area Agency on Aging funded SDRI’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which is offered free to local residents.

A new session of the Diabetes Prevention Program will start in January 2019 at the Santa Barbara Family YMCA.

For more information or to join a future DPP session, contact Program Coordinator Alicia Michelson at 805-682-7640, ext. 221, or amichelson@sansum.org.