Is the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Right For You?

Posted on: 08.10.2016     By: Dana Stango

Take the diabetes risk assessment and hear from a Lifestyle Coach on how to improve your success in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.


Right now in the United States, 29 million Americans are living with type 2 diabetes.

This is a big number, and it is only the tip of the iceberg when compared to the 86 million people with prediabetes. That’s 1 out of 3 Americans with prediabetes! Even more shocking is the fact that only 1 out of 10 people who have prediabetes know they have it. Although those with prediabetes often do not experience any symptoms, adults with diabetes or prediabetes are at higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke than other groups of people. But there is great news: prediabetes can be a completely reversible condition.  By knowing your status, you will take a VERY important step towards taking charge of your health and your life.

Lab Values Numbers to know:

A1C: 5.7-6.4% is a range considered prediabetes. Anything below is normal and anything above is considered to be in a diabetes range. Fasting blood glucose and a 2-hour plasma blood glucose test can also be used by a physician to make a diagnosis for diabetes and prediabetes. However, A1C is the best way to determine your risk because it is a measure of your blood sugar levels over a 3 month period.

Don’t know your numbers? That’s okay. Follow this link to the American Diabetes Associations website and take a simple quiz to determine your risk:

Now this is where the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program comes in…

A little encouragement goes a long way when you are making big changes. In the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program you’ll spend a year surrounded by a group of supportive people with common goals who care about your well-being. To help reduce your risk for diabetes, the goal of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is to reduce your body weight by 7% and increase your physical activity by at least 150 minutes a week. Research shows that doing these two simple things can decrease the incidence of diabetes by up to 58% and an astonishing 71% in those over 60 years old. The group meets 25 times in a year: once a week for 16 weeks, biweekly 3 times, and then monthly for 6 months for a maintenance period. Each week, you will weigh in, turn in a food and activity log and discuss your successes and challenges of the week. The program aims to provide you as a participant with a safe space where you can feel comfortable sharing and learning in a confidential environment. You will work with a lifestyle coach to lose weight, boost your energy, reduce your risk for diabetes and improve health for life!

How to be successful in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program: 5 tips from a Lifestyle Coach

  1. Come to class. Come to class every week that you can, and if you are out for a while, don’t be afraid to come back. Your Lifestyle Coach and your group will always be happy to see you. You will be back on the program in no time.
  2. Always complete your food journal. Research shows that participants who complete a food journal lose more weight than those who don’t, and I really have seen this with my participants in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program! Even though writing down everything you eat may seem tedious at first, you are training your brain to think about the foods you eat. Many participants have told me that one of the most important benefits they have gotten out of this program, is a heightened awareness of their eating habits.
  3. Complete at least 150 minutes of Physical Activity a week. This is an important part of your success in the program and in your health. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is designed to help you work your way up to enough exercise with weekly exercise goals. The Y has so many exercise classes available. Try them all and see what works best for you!
  4. Be ready for and open to change. When you sign up for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, be ready to make meaningful changes in your life. Just showing up isn’t enough, you must be ready to apply what you learn!
  5. No matter how many times you slip, always get back up. The reason why this program is a year-long, is because real changes take time. You are going to encounter challenges along the way as you learn more about yourself. Real success is learning how to deal with new problems, while celebrating both your successes and your challenges. Remember, this is your journey and you are entitled to the lessons you will learn in both your ups and your downs. Your Lifestyle Coach and your group will be there to support you at every step without judgement.

Here are the key components of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program:

Time: A year long program

  • 16 weekly sessions followed by,
  • 3 biweekly sessions followed by,
  • 6 monthly sessions

Led by: A trained lifestyle coach

Class size: 8-15 participants

Program Goals:  reduce risk of type 2 diabetes by

  • Increasing physical activity by 150 minutes a week
  • Reducing body weight by 5-7%


  • At least 18 years old
  • Overweight (BMI > 25) and
  • At risk for developing type 2 diabetes (take the risk assessment quiz)
  • Diagnosed with prediabetes

Program Cost:

  • $429 dollars
  • Cost may be covered by some Florida Blue and United Health Care plans
  • Payment plans and financial assistance are available

Participants of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program are very familiar with the trials and triumphs of lifestyle change. Here are a few words of advice from participants of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program:

“Take it one day at a time, if you slip up and didn’t eat/exercise as you should, don’t stress, just strive the next day to do better. It is a continued work in progress.”  – Pauline

“Do not give up if you do not meet your first time goal.  Just make a new one and continue on your journey”. – Tara

“You can’t give up! You have to be a fighter. Take interest in yourself, and focus on all the things that you CAN do.” – Ruby

To find a YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program starting near you in South Florida, please contact:

 Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator: Dana Stango, Email:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *