Local program aims to help residents avoid diabetes, develop healthy habits
By Tyler Stocks
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Pitt County according to a 2017 State of the County Health Report.
Statewide, more than 2,900 people die from the disease and North Carolina ranks 17th nationally, averaging 23.6 deaths per 100,000 people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And of the 30 million Americans who have diabetes, 90 to 95 percent have Type 2 diabetes.
Unlike Type I diabetes where the body doesn't produce insulin or produces very little, Type 2 diabetes over produces the hormone and the pancreas can't use it correctly.
To combat the issue, the CDC established a year long program called PreventT2. The program features an approach that is proven to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
An information session on the program will be held at 1 p.m. today at Fountain Presbyterian Church, 5851 E. Lang St., Fountain. The program is $25 for the year, however, scholarships are available.
Program coordinator, Carolina Collier said that the purpose of the program is to promote healthy lifestyle changes which include proper nutrition an exercise regimens in order to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
According to Collier, most people are at risk for having pre-diabetes which is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.
"Pre-diabetes is basically a state where your blood sugar or hemoglobin A1C is elevated but it's not so high that it qualifies as being Type 2 diabetes," Collier said. "It's still something we want to pay attention to because those elevated numbers are basically telling us that we are starting to get into a risky place for being diagnosed with Type II diabetes.
"It's important to address it now before it becomes diabetes. Because you can be cured of pre-diabetes but not Type II diabetes," she said.
Collier said the program provides incentives for participants while also empowering them to make better choices that will enhance their quality of life.
"We focus on lifestyle changes and we meet throughout the year," she said. "We do group-based education about lifestyle changes and the two main goals of the program are to help people exercise up to 150 minutes per week as well as to lose five to seven percent of their starting weight."
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following for reducing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
- Get more physical activity
- Get plenty of fiber
- Go for whole grains
- Lose extra weight
- Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices
Diabetes is preventable even if one has a family history.
"A lot of people feel like they have to get diabetes because it runs in their family but that's not necessarily true," Collier said. "If you take good care of your body through a healthy diet and physical activity throughout the week, you absolutely do not have to develop Type 2 diabetes.
"Diabetes is something that is really important to address and it's certainly something that's on the rise right now," she said. "It's really important to take control over it before it takes control over you."