YMCA to offer diabetes prevention class to the public

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The community can learn steps to avoid the disease

By Kirsten Laskey

With diabetes escalating to nearly epic proportions, it’s time to fight back. The Family YMCA is offering a weekly class about the disease beginning Monday.
Diabetes 101-Education and Prevention is free of charge to community members.  
“Diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent in our society so we’ve decided this would allow us to serve our mission by educating the community so that maybe they won’t become one of the statistics,” said Wellness Director Melanie Chapman of the Family YMCA.
The class will be from 12:05-12:55 p.m. Mondays through Feb. 28. Samia Sibley, a registered dietician will lead the class, which cover diabetic basic terms, concepts, and common myths. Additionally, Sibley will instruct about food labels and how to decipher them, carbohydrate counting, portion sizes and how to analyze lab results.
Y Executive Director Linda Daly said, “We did it because this is all part of our emphasis of supporting those who come to Y to be healthy.”
Additionally, diabetes is no rare occurrence. “Diabetes is huge in our society,” Daly said.
In fact, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) website, 25.8 million people in the U.S. have diabetes as of 2010. Last year, there were 1.9 million new cases of the disease in individuals age 20 and older. The website defines diabetes as a disease in which glucose levels, or sugars, are higher than normal. This can lead to a host of health problems such as heart disease and kidney failure.
Sibley said, “Unfortunately, it’s a condition so prevalent and such a growing problem that I think it’s good for people to go back to the basics.”
The YMCA, along with United Health Care and the CDC, are responding to the disease, which is the sixth leading cause of the death in the U.S. The organizations are joining forces to host a national pre-diabetes program.
In the interim, Daly said the local Y wondered what could be done today. Daly said, Lou Santoro, YMCA board member and local State Farm agent, commented, “Let’s not wait.” And thus Diabetes 101 was created with Lou Santoro State Farm underwriting the cost of the program.
“It’s so critical to do something, make a change,” Daly said. Just doing small things can make a big impact, she added.
Sibley encouraged people to attend the class because “one of the most important factors patients’ health is having a good support group and if loved ones have good knowledge of the disease, they can be a great support and benefit for patients as well.”
Plus, Sibley said, everyone can benefit from learning to live a healthy lifestyle and eating a low fat and salt diet.