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OH officials prepare for 2020 Diabetes Prevention Program

Messenger-Inquirer - 12/29/2019

Dec. 29--Owensboro Health's Diabetes Prevention Program will host free information sessions next month.

They will take place at the OH HealthPark, 1006 Ford Ave., and are scheduled for:

--5:30 p.m.Jan. 6 and 13

--10 a.m.Jan 7 and 14

For more information about the program, call Amy Turley, OH certified diabetes educator, at 270-688-4459 or email her at Amy.Turley@OwensboroHealth.org.

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Type II diabetes runs in Earl Allen's family.

One of his sisters lost a toe to the disease, and she runs the risk of losing part of her right leg due to a sore that refuses to heal.

He has watched others in his family suffer from the chronic condition, as well.

About 10 years ago, Allen was diagnosed with prediabetes. The 72-year-old was taking two pills a day to stave off full-blown Type II diabetes.

A year ago, Allen read about Owensboro Health's Diabetes Prevention Program in the Messenger-Inquirer. The story prompted Allen to enroll.

As a result, he lost 15 pounds and reduced his medications by one pill per day.

"The class I was in the last year has been a motivator," Allen said. " ... I can't be grateful enough for what this past year has done for me."

Allen was one of 63 who enrolled in the yearlong program. Of those, 45 completed the classes.

Their total combined weight loss was 674 pounds. That averages more than 7% per person, said Beth Cecil, OH manager of community wellness.

OH's Diabetes Prevention Program is approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is one of only three CDC-approved programs in Kentucky. OH's average weight loss of 7% exceeds the CDC's goal of 5%.

Many who enrolled in the local program went from having a prediabetes diagnosis to returning their blood sugar levels to normal, Cecil said. Some reduced their medications for other conditions, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

The program is for people who have been diagnosed with prediabetes, not Type II diabetes.

If eligible, Medicare Part B beneficiaries may participate at no cost, Cecil said.

"CDC studies have shown that people who have participated in the Diabetes Prevention Program -- over the age of 60 -- reduce their risk of developing Type II diabetes by 71%," she said.

The health system received a $17,500 grant from the Good Samaritan Foundation to provide scholarships to clients who are not on Medicare Part B and who could not otherwise afford to attend. Cecil said the price for the 2020 program has not been determined yet.

Next month, OH will host information sessions about next year's classes. The program cost will be available at that time.

Clients who enrolled in last year's program are welcome to attend again in 2020, said Amy Turley, OH certified diabetes educator. About 10 people from her class plan to return, including Allen.

"I'm looking forward to it again," he said.

With another year of knowledge and support under his belt, Allen hopes he can return his blood sugar levels to normal and be able to quit taking all his diabetes-related medication.

Morning and evening sessions are available. Classes last one hour.

For the first 16 weeks, classes are scheduled weekly. After that, sessions drop to biweekly. At the six-month mark, clients attend once a month.

Classes hold up to 20 participants.

They learn about healthful eating and the importance of physical activity. Classes teach participants how to manage stress and stay motivated.

Next year, programs will begin in January, April and August.

For more information about OH's Diabetes Prevention Program, contact Turley at 270-688-4459 or Amy.Turley@OwensboroHealth.org.

"I contribute my good health to this class," Allen said. " ... I'm healthier today because of (Cecil and Turley)."

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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