YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening community through healthy living, released results from the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which revealed that participants achieved meaningful weight loss and cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program helps those diagnosed with prediabetes make behavioral changes that not only improve their health, but could potentially save billions in future health care costs.

More than 4,000 individuals have enrolled and attended at least one class since the Y expanded the program in 2010 and one-third have completed the full yearlong program. The program has grown from a few pilot sites in two communities to 247 class locations across 51 cities in 26 states. Participants in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program lost an average of 4.8 percent of their body weight, while hundreds of individuals lost an average of 7 percent of body weight.

“The Y is on the leading edge of how healthcare services will be delivered in the future,” said Jonathan Lever, vice president for health strategy and innovation for Y-USA. “The Y’s footprint in communities and the portability of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program means we can reach many of the 79 million individuals currently estimated to have prediabetes and help reverse the rise of chronic disease rates that are causing health care costs to increase.”

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is a 12-month evidence-based program that includes 16 weekly core sessions followed by monthly maintenance sessions. The program is delivered in a classroom setting by trained lifestyle coaches and provides a supportive environment where a small group of individuals work together to learn how healthier eating and increased physical activity can help reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Long-term program goals include reducing participants’ body weight by 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

One program participant, Christina M., from Harrison, NY, has already seen results. “The most powerful thing I learned was how to eat well; and the group experience was really helpful because one person may be struggling with something and the group would bounce around ideas and provide a fresh perspective that could really help.”

Potentially Saving Billions in Health Care Costs

According to a recent report from the CDC, if current trends continue, one in three Americans could have diabetes by the year 2050, causing an immense strain on the health care system. An Urban Institute report indicates that the nation could save up to $191 billion over the next 10 years if programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program were scaled nationally, with the majority of savings going to Medicare and Medicaid programs.

”With so much at stake, we must make sure that an effective program to prevent type 2 diabetes is widely available,” said Dr. Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Partners like the Y are helping us reach that goal by bringing the program to many communities across America.”

Besides helping people live healthier and potentially reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program sets a new course for U.S. health care delivery by forming partnerships with third party payers (employers, private insurers and state and local governments). These partnerships create a new paradigm in health care delivery where, for the first time, a community-based organization is reimbursed on a performance basis for a prevention program delivered in a group setting.

OptumHealth’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) provides start-up funding to help establish the programs in local communities. The DPCA also provides technology and administrative services for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program and for plan sponsors who offer the program as a covered benefit to their employees or members. United HealthCare and Medica are the first payers to provide reimbursement for the successful delivery of the program.

“The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program provides people with prediabetes with the information and tools they need to take control of their health and tackle this disease,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization. “The Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance is pleased to partner with the Y to broaden the reach of this proven program for millions of people with prediabetes, and make greater progress in the fight against the diabetes epidemic in our country.”

Visit YMCA.net/diabetes-prevention to learn more about the program and see if you qualify. Call the Dale Turner Family YMCA at 206-363-0446 to speak with a representative about the program. 


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