Locals working for Diabetes Prevention and Awareness

NEGAUNEE — It’s National Diabetes Awareness Month and local programs are working to prevent Type 2 Diabetes by taking several measures, of fruits and vegetables.

100,000 people in the U.P. are living with Prediabetes and 90% of them don’t know they have it. Studies have shown that groups such as the one that meets every month in Negaunee’s Senior Center, work at preventing Type 2 Diabetes.

“This program is just evidence based. We know it works and this group of ladies that I’ve been working with we have 18 total and they have lost over 180 lbs. over the last six months,” said Anne Constance, Director of the U.P. Diabetes Network.

These ladies in this particular program have lost their weight by being more conscious of what they eat, such as eating more fruits and vegetables and less carbohydrates.

“I myself never eat two of any bread, potatoes, pasta, or rice. I’ll choose one for the day and that’s all I’ll have. Some days I won’t have any at all but those are all high in calories and they add up and I am just very conscious of that, ” commented Phyllis James, Prediabetes Program participant.

They also cut back or cut off eating fast food which is high in calories.

“Another thing I’ve noticed is a lot of fast food places have calorie counts now and I noticed one place had a $5 meal that was fourteen, fourteen or fifteen, hundred calories, and that is more than I allow myself in a day,” added James.

The program has shown great success as these women have lost the necessary 5-7 % of their body weight to prevent diabetes, with some more accomplishments as well.

“That’s pretty amazing you know. That some of them are going off their medications. Some have gone to their doctor and know they no longer have Prediabetes. They have lowered their blood sugar. Our oldest participant is 82-years-old and she is just adorable. She has lost that 7% or more of her body weight and was able to start walking again, ” said Constance.

“I’m at about fifteen percent. I am very happy with myself, yes,” mentioned James.

Some people don’t realize anything is wrong until it’s too late, so preventative measures are crucial if you may be overweight.

“Well, I think one thing about type two diabetes and even Prediabetes is that you feel fine and don’t realize anything is going on with your body, but the way we live in the U.S. and in the U.P. puts us on the path to developing some really serious health issues whether it be diabetes, some types of cancers, heart disease, kidney failure, dementia, osteoporosis. They all have a lifestyle choice involved with them,” stated Constance.

“Well, I would encourage anyone who is overweight to join this group,” expressed James.