By Libby Smith
DENVER (CBS4) – One in three Coloradans have pre-diabetes, that means their blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be a diabetes diagnosis.
Since 2013, the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver had been offering Diabetes Prevention Program classes that are helping people battle their diagnosis of pre-diabetes. The classes are held at five YMCA locations, as well as 13 non-YMCA facilities, like businesses or government agencies.
“There’s risk factors like family history and age and physical inactivity, as well as, weight, but there’s also blood values that can tell you if you’re at pre-diabetes,” said Keri-Ann Perodi, Diabetes Prevention Program coordinator for the YMCA.
Melissa Serviss had some of those risk factors, and enrolled in the classes at her employers. She takes the one-hour class at lunch time for 16 weeks, then has classes once a month for the rest of the year.
“I don’t have to do it outside of work, during family time, so this worked out great,” Serviss said.
The classes teach cooking techniques, how to read labels, and track activity.
“I’m learning a lot about lifestyle changes, eating low fat, being active, tracking my food intake,” Serviss listed for CBS4.
She started the program in February, and now she’s 50 pounds lighter.
“Everything’s changed really. My whole way of eating has changed, being active has changed in my house,” she explained.
It’s also changed the lives of her two sons; Kevin, 9 and Joseph, 15. They’re learning how to eat healthy snacks and now they’re active right alongside their mother.
“They’re kind of stuck with the changes, whether they like it or not,” Serviss said.
The YMCA started offering these classes in 2013, about 500 people have been able to beat pre-diabetes.
“Many of our participants hit their weight loss goal, which is a 7 percent weight loss goal and then some,” Parodi said.
You don’t have to be a YMCA member to take part in the Diabetes Prevention Program but you do have to have some risk factors to qualify, like a BMI over 28, and elevated blood sugar levels.
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.