RYE, N.Y. -- Two community health programs at the Rye YMCA help people reclaim control of their health in the face of two deadly diseases.
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a yearlong series of group classes for anybody over 18 who is overweight and at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes or is already diagnosed with prediabetes.
Livestrong is a 12-week program for cancer survivors to regain their total health.
Both of these programs are available free to participants thanks to a Y-USA grant the local branch received in 2011.
The diabetes offering, based on National Institutes of Health research, drew 46,000 participants nationally since its inception, 140 locally, said Tanya Stack, regional coordinator for the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. It helps participants get healthier by increasing physical activity and losing weight, thus reducing the chances of developing diabetes, she explained.
Specific goals suggest participants take their body weight down by 7 percent and increase their physical activity to 150 minutes a week in a year.
The idea is “improve energy levels and self-esteem, build muscle mass and strength, and ultimately improve their quality of life," said Stack.
The Rye Y is working with Hudson River Health Care to expand the program to Yonkers.
HRHC is one of four partners selected by the state Department of Health to implement its Local I.M.P.A.C.T Program, an initiative funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HRHC reached out to the Rye Y because its Diabetes Prevention Program is the only CDC-recognized lifestyle change program in Westchester County, according to Stack.
Meanwhile, the Livestrong cancer program has helped 459 people at the branch, leaving participants feeling "less stress and supported emotionally," she said.
Nearly everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own experience or through the diagnosis or a friend, family member or colleague.
Livestrong support adults who are facing this disease, said Stack.
The program lasts 12 weeks and helps cancer survivors regain their total health.
In 2013, the Rye Y was recognized by YMCA of the USA and the Livestrong Foundation with the Excellence and Innovation Award for hosting Livestrong week, an annual event to celebrate cancer survivors and their families.