WINCHESTER — Valley Health is offering a new session of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a free 12-month class designed to help adults who are at risk for developing diabetes and are ready to make lasting lifestyle changes.

The group will meet virtually on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m., beginning later this month.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report estimated 13% of all U.S. adults have diabetes and 34.5% meet criteria for pre-diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness among adults in the U.S. It is also associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and was estimated to be the 7th-leading cause of death in the US in 2017.

“Our certified diabetes educators are dedicated to helping individuals with diabetes successfully manage their disease, and we are equally passionate about helping those at risk understand and reverse the trajectory of lifestyle factors that can lead to Type 2 diabetes,” said Beth Herriott a nurse in the Valley Health Diabetes Management Program.

To be eligible for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, individuals must be overweight, not have a diabetes diagnosis, and have 1 or more of the following:

• Elevated blood sugar levels

• High blood pressure

• a family history of diabetes

• Physically inactive

• a history of gestational diabetes

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is built on the premise that small steps to become more active, eat more mindfully, and lose a small amount of weight can go a long way to keeping diabetes at bay.

Valley Health Diabetes Management Program staff are trained to help participants make lasting change during 16 classes in the first 6 months, followed by monthly classes for the remaining 6 months. The program includes coaching to help develop skills to lose weight, be more physically active, manage stress and stay motivated.

Frederick County resident Pam Pampe completed the Diabetes Prevention Program in March of 2020, just as Covid-19 ground in-person gatherings to a halt.

“The program was the perfect scenario for me,” Pampe says. “My numbers had gone up, and I had trouble losing weight because I hated dieting and exercising. Now I’m running 5Ks, and am either at the gym or doing a hard trek five days a week. I lost 17 pounds and I’m keeping it off. I love how I feel and how I look.”

Pampe credits the expertise of the instructors and the support of others in the group with helping her gradually make lifelong healthy changes.

“We had a mixed group, including some folks who had difficulty walking any distance at all,” she said. “They were candid about their struggles and by year’s end, we had all really made a difference in our lives.”

To learn more or to register, call 540-536-5108 or visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/diabetes.

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