Staff Report

Beginning this spring, community members are preventing type 2 diabetes together with the lifestyle change intervention offered by Sansum Diabetes Research Institute and the YMCA. Guided by trained lifestyle coaches, groups of participants will learn the skills necessary to make lasting changes such as modest amounts of weight loss, being more physically active, and managing stress.

One in three Americans has prediabetes. People with prediabetes may develop type 2 diabetes within 3 years if they do not take steps to prevent it.  

“With the sharp increase in type 2 diabetes in our communities, the YMCA is very pleased to be partnering with Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in identifying members of our communities at risk, and working jointly to help people bring about life-saving changes in their lives,” said Thomas Speidel, executive director of the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA in Santa Ynez.

This revolutionary program promotes a collaborative, non-judgmental approach to wellness in a motivating environment. Participants will learn how to eat healthfully, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of making changes.

This is a yearlong program. Groups will meet once a week for four months, then once a month for the remainder of the program to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make similar changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.

SDRI and the YMCA are also partnering on a program for those impacted by type 2 diabetes, Ocho Pasos a la Buena Salud. Ocho Pasos a la Buena Salud is an ADA-recognized diabetes self-management education series offered in Spanish over 8-10 weeks. The course is culturally appropriate for the local Latino/Hispanic community and utilizes an instructional approach that prioritizes discussion and participant engagement to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to self-manage type 2 diabetes. Topics include healthy eating, meal planning and preparation, monitoring, medications, as well as identifying risk factors, symptoms, and complications of diabetes, and lifestyle changes to improve an individual’s diabetes self-management. Health outcomes are tracked over the course of the series and outcomes analysis has proven the effectiveness of the series.

The Diabetes Prevention program and Ocho Pasos a la Buena Salud, will be offered at several YMCA locations, including Santa Ynez, Lompoc and Santa Barbara. 

The Diabetes Prevention program is based on research that showed that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, with older adults experiencing an even greater diabetes risk reduction.

Small changes can add up to a big difference. Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, PreventT2 program participants can make lasting changes together.

People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:

  • Are 45 years of age or older;
  • Are overweight;
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes;
  • Are physically active fewer than three times per week; or
  • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

Prevent T2 will hold the following screenings:

  • Santa Barbara Family YMCA and Haley St. Family and Teen Center – please contact SDRI for more information

 To see if you are eligible to join our program, take the risk test to get started. Test is available at To learn more about this program, call Stefany Olague, Program Coordinator @ 805-682-7640, ext.221, or email