Know the Risks: November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

November 20, 2020

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and a time for all Bangor Region residents to assess their risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Currently, of the 88 million adults with prediabetes only 20 percent know they have the condition. In addition to the high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, people with prediabetes are also at risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. To address this issue, the Bangor Region YMCA will be introducing the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program to the Bangor Region in January 2021, which will help adults lose weight through healthier eating and increased physical activity, potentially preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a group-based lifestyle intervention for adults who are prediabetic and at high-risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This program has been shown to reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58 percent overall and by 71 percent in adults over 60.

“At the Y, we take a community integrated approach to improving health, meaning we move health care out of the clinic and into the community where people can more easily access the care they need,” said Diane Dickerson, CEO of The Bangor Region YMCA. “Currently much of our focus is on prevention programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program that provides a safe and supportive environment where people can learn to change behaviors and potentially decrease chances of developing type 2 diabetes.”

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 family history, 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.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is a 12-month evidence-based program for those who are prediabetic that features a lifestyle coach who helps participants learn tactics for healthy eating, physical activity and other lifestyle changes during 25, one-hour classroom sessions. Long-term program goals include reducing participants’ body weight by 5 to 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week. Nationally, more than 68,000 people participated in the program at almost 1,100 sites in 40 states throughout the country. Participants who completed the yearlong program lost an average of 5.5 percent of body weight and completed an average of 168 minutes of physical activity per week.

For more information about how to qualify for access to the upcoming YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program at The Bangor Region YMCA, email Jennifer Crane, Healthy Living Programs Manager.