November is Diabetes Awareness Month

YMCA Diabetes Programs

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the YMCA of Western North Carolina is encouraging local residents to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (84 million people) has prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they are at risk but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

"As one of the leading community-based charities committed to improving the health of Western North Carolina, the Y wants all people to understand their risk for prediabetes and steps to take to avoid developing type 2 diabetes," said Todd Sevenz-Coleman, Vice President of Operations for population health and programs at the YMCA of WNC. "Developing type 2 diabetes not only puts a tremendous strain on our healthcare system, but affects the lives of millions of people and their families each year."

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.

Diabetes prevention and management at the Y

The YMCA of Western North Carolina offers two evidence-based programs for diabetes prevention and management:

  • The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program helps those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by encouraging participants to eat healthier, increase physical activity and work toward a healthier weight in a small-group environment. By making and maintaining these modest lifestyle changes, a participant can reduce the chances of developing diabetes.
  • Taking Control of Type 2 empowers participants to take a balanced approach to type 2 diabetes self-care. Support and education are provided by a variety of health professionals and is complemented by a YMCA curriculum that covers motivation, goal setting, balanced eating, and achieving a healthy weight.

Lifestyle changes reduce risk

Making some basic lifestyle changes that contribute to weight loss and healthy living can decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes. Among these are:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Choose fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
  • Aim for whole grains with every meal.
  • Be moderately active, getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
  • Choose water to drink instead of beverages with added sugar.
  • Speak to your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight. 

To learn more about the YMCA’s diabetes prevention and management programs, email the Population Health team or call 828 210 5040.

Western North Carolina diabetes facts

  • North Carolina is ranked 13th highest for adult diabetes prevalence.
  • At 12.6%, residents in Western North Carolina have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than other regions in the state.
  • In McDowell County, 10.6% of the population are diabetic and another 7.8% are prediabetic.
  • In Henderson County, 9.3% of the population have type 2 diabetes and another 6% qualify as prediabetic.
  • In Buncombe County, 11.8% of the population have type 2 diabetes and another 6.7% have prediabetes.
Category: Diabetes Programs