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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
November 4, 2016
Don Diabetes Prevention participant

Are You One of the 86 Million Americans with Prediabetes? As the prediabetes rate continues to rise, few Kansas City area residents know they are at risk. During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the YMCA of Greater Kansas City is encouraging residents of Kansas City to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.  

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

As one of the leading community-based charities committed to building a community of integrated health across the country, the Y wants residents of greater Kansas City to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps they can take to prevent developing Type 2 diabetes,” said Jessica Velazquez Nickels, healthy living community director, YMCA of Greater Kansas City. “Rising diabetes rates cost the nation $245 billion annually for a disease that is preventable with simple lifestyle changes like eating better and getting more physical activity.”

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City is helping to improve health through our Diabetes Prevention Program, which helps adults at risk of developing type 2 diabetes take steps to improve their overall health and well-being.

Don is a Diabetes Prevention Program participant at Platte County Community Center North in Platte City. Don had been active and didn’t have a family history of diabetes. So he was shocked to learn after a routine physical that his blood work showed he had prediabetes.

By the time Don was three months into the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, he had already lost 75 percent of the weight he wanted to lose and had worked up to 150 minutes a week of exercise.

“I feel really good,” he said. “I feel healthier, I feel more active, I feel so good I could do things that I couldn’t do before.”

Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
  • Aim for whole grains with every meal.
  • Be moderately active, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight.  

To learn more about the YMCA of Greater Kansas City's Diabetes Prevention and other chronic disease programs, please contact Jessica Velazquez at