How to prevent and reduce the risk for diabetes

The Ventura Family YMCA is encouraging residents of Ventura to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (84 million people) has prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes. Learning how to prevent prediabetes can reduce the chances of getting diabetes even more, making it a slim possibility. Small changes to diets and routines can help save peoples lives.

As one of the leading community-based charities committed to improving the health of Ventura, the Y wants to all people to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps to take to avoid developing type 2 diabetes,” said Margo Byrne, Chief Operations Officer for the Channel Islands YMCA. “Developing type 2 diabetes impacts the lives of millions of people and their families each year physically, emotionally and financially.”

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

The Ventura Family YMCA also offers its members Y Fit appointments, three complimentary one-hour sessions with a Y Fit expert. During these appointments, members can discuss health concerns and develop a fitness plan and solutions with their expert in order to meet their specific needs and goals.

One diabetic Y member details their story of transformation, “Since joining the YMCA, I came in at 230lbs, diabetic, insulin dependent and generally unfit. After 18 months, I have dropped 35lbs, lost 6 inches off my waist. I am now insulin free, and my blood pressure is back to normal. I have been coming seven days a week to workout & swim. It has become a new way of life for me.”

Thanks to the Y programs, the people of Ventura Family YMCA are able to improve their heath

Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day.

  • Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.

  • Aim for whole grains with every meal.

  • Be moderately active, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.

  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.

  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.

Thanks to charitable donations from the community, the Y can continue to offer health programs to individuals and families in need of financial assistance. To learn more about the Ventura Family YMCA’s programs, please contact Sherry Maresca at [email protected] or 642.2131 ext 20.

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