New Yorkers at High Risk for Diabetes Find Help from YMCA Program

At 65 years old, Donald Cortright was diagnosed with prediabetes—a condition that put him at high risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. For help in getting his condition under control, Donald went to the Middletown YMCA, one of 10 Ys across the State that have implemented a diabetes prevention program (Y-DPP) with NYHealth support.

“I joined the Y-DPP because my blood test numbers were high. I’m 65 years old. My blood sugar was at 103, my A1C was 6.5, and I weighed 214 pounds [all indicators for prediabetes]. The Y-DPP classes have made me aware that the types and quantity of foods that I eat were a major factor for my physical condition. I was not aware of the total amount of fats and calories that I ate each day. The Y-DPP classes have educated me in a way that I would not have predicted prior to these classes. The instruction and the changes I have made resulted in a weight loss of over 22 pounds, my A1C lowered to 5.6, and my blood sugar is down to 91. I have started walking, riding a bicycle, and doing other forms of exercise most days.

I would recommend this program to anyone who is in need of weight reduction, diet education, or physical activity training. The positive changes that I have seen are life changing. The most useful aspects of the Y-DPP for me are the food and activity trackers, and the calorie-counter book.”

For more than 20 years, Grace Morina had not been able to get below 150 pounds to be healthier, even with the help of dieticians and once under a doctor-managed weight-loss program. After signing up for the Y-DPP in Middletown, she finally met her goal and has maintained the weight loss she needed to help prevent diabetes.

“Not only have the Y-DPP classes given me valuable information, they’ve provided a direction and pace that I was able to include into my lifestyle. The group meetings offered different perspectives and ideas to help with the program. The meetings also provided insight, humor, great suggestions, and a camaraderie that helped immensely. My eating habits and how I respond to the various downfalls have also changed. Even though the program has finished, I know that I have the information and tracking methods to attain my final goal of weight loss and diabetes prevention.

Here are my final outcomes:

  • I met the program’s goal of a 7% weight loss. For over 20 years, I have not been able to get below 150 pounds, even with the help of dieticians and once under a doctor-managed weight-loss program. I’ve finally made it below 150 pounds and have maintained it. For me, this is a miracle.
  • My last blood test reflected that my glucose serum was 89—finally, below the 100 mark. My insulin count was also lower.
  • I am exercising on a regular basis. Through the program I have found the incentive to fit it into my life on a regular basis and overcome issues that prevented me from exercising.
  • I am more aware of food content and I am reading labels on a regular basis, which helps me to eliminate foods at the market before they get home. The program group gave great ideas about foods, cooking, overeating, etc.

I am still working on what I learned through the program, and the book is a valuable resource I will always have. Most of all, the program’s group sessions provided me with encouragement, motivation, and accountability. Watching my food and keeping track of what I eat is now, and always will be, part of my lifestyle.”