The YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg Diabetes Prevention Program has become the first such lifestyle change plan in Florida to receive full recognition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is one of just eight diabetes prevention programs nationwide to receive this recognition.
The designation is reserved for programs that have effectively delivered a quality, evidence-based program that meets all of the standards for CDC recognition. “The sustained success of this lifestyle change program makes an invaluable contribution to the prevention of type 2 diabetes, both in the community and nationally,” said Ann Albright, Director of the CDC Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program.
Created in 2012, the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program provides a supportive environment where individuals meet in an interactive classroom setting, consulting with a trained lifestyle coach. Participants in the one-year program learn about healthy eating, physical activity and other behavioral changes.
More than 1,500 people have participated in the St. Pete program since its inception. Outcome goals include a seven percent decrease in body weight, combined with newly-ingrained physical activity habits.
Local organizations including the City of St. Petersburg, BayCare, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Pinellas County Government and Pinellas County Schools currently partner with the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg Diabetes Prevention Program, advocating for employee wellness while helping to allay rising healthcare costs.
“Stemming the tide of obesity and chronic disease is cornerstone to our healthy living mission.” said YMCA CEO & President David Jezek. “Through the philanthropic support of our community, we can enhance health equity for those at risk for chronic disease irrespective of their life circumstances.”
Diabetes affects more than 29 million people, and 79 million to 86 million people have prediabetes – putting them at greater risk for developing heart disease, stroke, and other chronic health conditions. More than one in three adults has prediabetes, placing more than 300,000 Pinellas County residents at risk for developing diabetes.
According to the National Institute of Health, type 2 diabetes can be prevented. This research shows that 58 percent of all new cases, and 71 percent of new cases in individuals over age 60, can be prevented through programs like the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program.
The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is currently a covered benefit under certain Florida Blue insurance plans, Cigna of Florida, United Healthcare employer plans, and Medicare Part B.