Prevent T2: Diabetes program coming to Cullman

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Logo courtesy of Prevent T2

CULLMAN, Ala. – A new program will soon be available in Cullman for those with type 2 diabetes or who are prediabetic. Cullman Primary Care, P.C. (CPC) and the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center (CWAC) have joined forces to bring the National Diabetes Prevention Program to Cullman.

“Cullman Primary Care, P.C. and the Cullman Wellness and Aquatics Center (CWAC) are teaming up to help prevent type 2 diabetes in Cullman. The CDC-recognized lifestyle change program, Prevent T2, is an evidence-based program focusing on healthy eating and physical activity which is taught all over the U.S., including Birmingham and Huntsville, but has never been offered in Cullman. People with prediabetes who participate in a structured lifestyle change program can cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% (71% for people over 60 years old),” said a statement from the two.  

Prediabetes is identified when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 86 million adults have prediabetes, but 9 out of 10 adults do not know they have it.

You may have prediabetes and be at risk for Type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are 45 years of age or older
  • Are overweight
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active fewer than three times per week
  • Ever had diabetes while pregnant (gestational diabetes) or gave birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

People with prediabetes- one in three American adults- are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within five years.

Debbie Morrison, a registered dietician at CPC, will instruct the classes and hopes people will take advantage of this beneficial program.

“The CDC has been collecting data on people in these classes for 10 years,” said Morrison. “They have been demonstrating that if these classes are taught according to the way the curriculum is written and managed in the way the CDC set out for them to be managed, they (participants) lose weight and the blood sugars go down. It is improving their health. They can’t have people out scare them teaching them any old way.”

Morrison added, “We are talking about a group that’s not yet to diabetes and they really have an awesome opportunity before they have fully developed diabetes to get their eating and weight under control. Then, they may never develop diabetes.”

Kayti Murphree, health and wellness coordinator at CWAC, will also assist with the program.

She said, “I wanted to be able to provide a space for this program. To have a population in Cullman that is prediabetic, and we do have a high percentage of obese members in our community, to provide a location where people can come and participate in this program and to help create a healthier lifestyle is at the top of my list. We do ultimately want Cullman to be a stronger, healthier and more health-centered community. We thought it aligned perfectly with the ideals of both of our organizations to have it here.”

Murphree is a certified exercise physiologist so she will be able to provide participants with what she calls an “exercise prescription.” She explained that all people are different and their exercise needs can be personalized.

“I want people to have a positive experience mentally and physically,” she said.

Prevent T2 classes start in September. Two free information sessions and class registrations will be held Monday, Sept. 9 and Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at CWAC, 1636 Field of Miracles Drive SW in Cullman. Classes begin Monday, Sept. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at CWAC.

“I’ve tried so many things before, but without the program I would never have done this on my own,” said one program participant.

Prevent T2 is based on research which showed that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7% of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.

“Small changes can add up to a big difference,” said Morrison. “Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, PreventT2 participants are making lasting changes together.”

The Prevent T2 program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers. Each Prevent T2 group meets for a full year- weekly for the first six months, then once or twice a month for the second six months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Cost of the classes is $20 per month, or $200 for the entire year; some or all of this cost may be covered by health insurance. The free information sessions are open to all.

The program will include fun interactive activities. People will not be able to join the class once it’s started and space is limited. Everyone is eligible to register but due to the limited space, those with type 2 diabetes or who are prediabetic will be given priority. Both Murphree and Morrison hope people will join the class and will look to expand the program if there is a need. For more information, call 256-739-4131.

Murphree is confident in the program, saying, “If you follow this program and you are diligent and do make the changes it suggests, you will be successful.”

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com