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The Less Traveled Road - Health Notes

The Less Traveled Road

Over the past three years, 33 men and women from our area were all facing a similar crossroad. Each was at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, a life-altering disease that is a modern day American epidemic. Every one of them was rolling the dice with their health; they met the criteria for pre-diabetes, which includes: elevated blood glucose levels, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, excessive weight, older than 45 and a family history of diabetes.

DPP participant Vaughn MacGregor had been overweight most his adult life, with his last serious weight loss attempt lasting just two weeks before he slipped back into unhealthy habits. He credits his fellow DPP participants with helping him find the courage to give it another try, and the support to stick with it. “I’ve told co-workers and family members who have asked me what my secret is, that there is, in fact, no secret,” he said. “The hardest part of losing weight is just getting started.”

For Cindy Witt, the program was a learning experience. “It was enlightening,” she said. “It is truly an eye opener.” Witt points to her ethnic heritage as the root of her lifelong struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “I’m Italian, Irish and Pennsylvania Dutch,” she said. “I love food and I love to eat.” And, although she admitted to having a rough time adjusting to the DPP guidelines early on, within a few weeks, she was all in. “DPP showed me how I can still enjoy all the things I love to eat and remain healthy,” she said.

Through the weekly sessions, the participants gained insight, support and new life skills.  MacGregor lost over 100 pounds and developed a new outlook on life. “By making these healthy choices I have not only reduced the possibility of developing diabetes, but gained a more meaningful and hopefully longer life,” he said.

Along with dropping four sizes in her clothing, Witt has lowered her cholesterol and has run two-quarter mile stints for the first time in years. “I’m really having a great time with this life change!” she said.

DPP lifestyle coach Kathy McGill said the success of the program is due in part, she believes, to the camaraderie that develops among them. “Our meetings are fun, with lively and real conversations about the frustrations, success and the progress being made toward a healthier lifestyle. We have all made new friends through the program.”

The Low Down on Diabetes

Risk of death is 2 times greater

Heart disease is the leading cause of diabetes related death

Approximately 86 million American adults have prediabetes

Approximately 26 million Americans have diabetes

About 2/3 of diabetics have nerve system damage

More than ½ of non-traumatic lower limb amputations occur with diabetics

Diabetics are 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma and 60% more likely to develop cataracts

For more information on the Diabetes Prevention Program, including how to register, contact Shelby Conn at Grove City YMCA at 724-458-9781