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A Plan For Fighting Diabetes at The Rye YMCA

The Rye YMCA plans to begin its new Diabetes Prevention Program Tuesday, which is designed to help people at high risk for developing diabetes make healthy lifestyle changes.

"Doctors tell them to eat right and lose weight, but what's the next step?" said Tanya Potrzebowski, regional coordinator for the program. "That's what we are."

The one-year program begins with classes once a week for 16 weeks, where people monitor their weight, track their eating habits and discuss in a group a specific topic, such as controlling meal portions. After the 16-week period, eight monthly "maintenance sessions" are held for the rest of the year.

Each class must have at least five participants and will be capped at fifteen. The Rye Y has five trained "lifestyle coaches" that could each hold five classes a week, accommodating as many as 375 people in a given week.

One of the requirements for participating in the program is that the participant be overweight -- one of the goals of the program is weight loss. Obesity is a leading factor in the onset of diabetes.

Potrzebowski said this can be problematic because some "people are hesitant to admit they're overweight" and this hinders them from addressing the health issues it creates.The other goal of the program is to increase physical activity among participants, which is introduced incrementally.

The Rye Y has been selected by the YMCA national office to implement this program in the region as part of a nationwide effort to encourage healthier lifestyles.

Laura Tiedge, senior director of Healthy Living at Rye Y and project manager for the program, said there needs to be "sense of urgency" among people at risk for diabetes. "Once you have the disease, there's no turning back," she said.

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