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(Asheville, NC) - The Community Benefits Grants Program of Mission Hospital has awarded the YWCA of Asheville $37,500 for the YWCA Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program. The YW will use funds from Mission to help individuals with Diabetes or pre-Diabetes prevent the disease or reduce complications with exercise, personal training, nutrition education, and support.
Diabetes is a crisis in Buncombe County, especially for people living in poverty. For many of our neighbors, lack of money, insurance, a regular doctor, and low-cost places to exercise are only some of the barriers to managing their disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, exercise is more effective than medicine in delaying Diabetes. Just 30 minutes of exercise per day and a small weight loss lowers complication risks by 60%.
In response to the health disparities in the community, eight years ago the YW developed the Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program. More than just a discounted membership, the YW offers individuals at risk for diabetes or its complications extensive support to reduce barriers to exercise. In return for a full family membership that averages $10/person per month, participants in the program agree to:
exercise 2 times or more weekly;
Meet at least 2 times per month with a personal trainer (more if desired);
Attend 1 of 3 weekly support groups;
Meet once per month with a mentor/program graduate (more if desired);
Participate in a monthly lecture by a healthcare professional;
Attend a 12-week healthy weight management class;
Attend a 6-week nutrition and healthy cooking class with their immediate family members.
Have their medications reviewed by a pharmacist.
The YW partners with Mission, Cooperative Extension, and Buncombe County Health Center to provide services. Mission Pharmacy interns regularly review participant’s medicine regimen in light of their diet and exercise changes, and make suggestions to primary care doctors to reduce medicine use and prevent side effects, and complications. Cooperative Extension provides the healthy eating and cooking classes. Buncombe County Health Department helps the YW find primary care providers and other services for participants, and also funds the program.
The YW also works to eliminate barriers to exercise, including providing free child care, transportation vouchers, purchasing shoes and other exercise clothing, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to those who cannot afford them, and helping participants’ secure primary and specialty care.
The YWCA of Asheville’s Diabetes Wellness and Prevention Program has experienced excellent results:
92% of persons with pre-Diabetes complete the program, meaning that they exercise at least twice per week for an entire year;
78% of persons with Diabetes experience better medical outcomes.
“The YWCA of Asheville has built a local, affordable, replicable program that is popular, well-attended, and that has been shown to greatly improve the health of our participants”, says Susan Kettren, Director of the program. “Currently, there is no waiting list for membership in the program. Individuals must have two of four risk factors (obesity, sedentary lifestyle, family history, elevated blood glucose). We require a physician’s permission to participate, but will work with you to help you find a doctor if you don’t have one.”