Reducing the Risks for Type 2 Diabetes

Prediabetes is a risk factor that can lead to type 2 diabetes. Health issues such as being overweight, and physically inactive put someone at greater risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Having diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and leads to other serious complications. Community-based educational programs accessible to everyone is one approach to improving a community’s health. The UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent in Spalding County offers the nationally recognized Prevent T2 Diabetes Prevention Program. Prevent T2 is a year-long lifestyle change program that stresses 5–7 percent weight loss and 120 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The agent provides lifestyle change skills, encourages participants to set and meet goals, and motivates the group to support each other through idea sharing, problem solving and celebrating successes. At each session, participants report weight and physical activity, and discuss problem solving, healthy eating, stress management and goal setting. Thirteen participants met in seven face-to-face sessions before transitioning to virtual sessions due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. To date, participants lost an average of eight pounds, totaling 91 pounds, and they logged an average of 246 minutes of physical activity per week. A mid-point evaluation shows that participants increased their vegetable intake and the accountability received from each other has made a big difference in helping them reach their goals. Participants feel like they have really bonded and know each other well, providing them with meaningful support for the lifestyle changes they are making. Most in the group will reach their 5-7 percent weight goal and 120 minutes per week physical activity goal. Participants feel that the resources provided by this program will be a great benefit after the programs is over.