It’s Fun to Fend Off Pre-Diabetes at the (New York) YMCA!

If you have pre-diabetes and live in any of the five boroughs of New York City, get ready to learn a new acronym: YDPP. The initials stand for YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, a public-private partnership under which New Yorkers can get enroll in a comprehensive low-cost diabetes prevention program at one of  the city’s 27 YMCA branches and affiliates.

The program is a response to the sobering statistic that 1.9 million of New York’s 8.4 million residents have pre-diabetes, but less than a third of them know it. The hope is that by offering prevention and prescription programs at the local level, YDPP can stave off  a sharp increase in the number of New York City residents who already have type 2 diabetes-an estimated 600,000.

Co-sponsored by grants from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and UnitedHealth Group, the cost for participants will be $40 for YMCA members and $80 for nonmembers. (The actual cost, without CDC and UnitedHealth support, is $325 per participant.)

The program offers 16 sessions led by a YMCA lifestyle coach who has been trained to give participants advice on healthy diet, increased exercise, and other lifestyle changes that can fend off the onset of type 2.  Groups of eight to 15 meet weekly to participate in the sessions. After the initial program, monthly follow-up sessions help participants stay on track.

Previous experience with the DPP program shows that it can reduce the progression to diabetes by 58 percent when participants lose five to seven percent of their weight and increase their amount of exercise and good dietary choices.

Financial assistance is available through the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, and no one with a referral from a health professional will be turned away from the program. UnitedHealth Group is actively encouraging its members with pre-diabetes to enroll in the program, the full cost of which the company will cover for its eligible plan participants. 

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