The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) awarded Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) a $20,000 grant to partner with the YMCA to identify, screen and educate individuals at risk for diabetes. DCHHS and YMCA hosted a campaign kick-off event today at Concord Senior Center, 6808 Pastor Bailey Dr. in Dallas.
“This grant and partnership will allow us to reach out to those who are at risk, provide education and connect them with beneficial health services,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “We are encouraging all seniors in that immediate community to come and get screened for diabetes.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all Americans aged 65 and older have prediabetes, a potentially reversible condition that places them at very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In 2010, nearly 282,000 seniors in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex had prediabetes. Thompson added outreach efforts will expand throughout Dallas County in the coming weeks.
“The YMCA is excited to be partnering with Dallas County Health and Human Services to raise awareness in the senior community of prediabetes and the associated risk factors,” said Gordon Echtenkamp, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas. “Together through intentional efforts to screen, identify and enroll seniors in the YMCA Diabetes Prevention program, we aim to help seniors adopt healthier behaviors to potentially reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.”
Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS medical director/health authority stresses the importance of finding prediabetes early in order to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “We know that prediabetes most often leads to diabetes,” Dr. Perkins said. “Early treatment can prevent serious problems caused by diabetes, such as loss of eyesight or kidney damage.”
Prediabetes is a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Without lifestyle changes to improve their health, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.
The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program teaches individuals to adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits proven to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Through the program, individuals receive support and encouragement from a trained lifestyle coach and fellow classmates while developing a plan for improving and maintaining their overall well-being.