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Frederick County resident Pam Pampe completed the Diabetes Prevention Program in March of 2020, just as COVID-19 ground in-person gatherings to a halt. “The program was the perfect scenario for me,” Pampe says. “My numbers had gone up, and I had trouble losing weight because I hated dieting and exercising. Now I’m running 5Ks, and am either at the gym or doing a hard trek five days a week. I lost 17 pounds and I’m keeping it off. I love how I feel and how I look.”

Valley Health is offering a new session of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a free, 12-month class designed to help adults who are at risk for developing diabetes and are ready to make lasting lifestyle changes, according to a media release. The group will meet virtually on Mondays from noon-1 p.m. beginning later this month.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report, an estimated 13% of all U.S. adults have diabetes and 34.5% meet criteria for prediabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness among adults in the U.S. It is also associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and was estimated to be the seventh leading cause of death in the US in 2017.

“Our certified diabetes educators are dedicated to helping individuals with diabetes successfully manage their disease, and we are equally passionate about helping those at risk understand and reverse the trajectory of lifestyle factors that can lead to Type 2 diabetes,” said Beth Herriott of the Valley Health Diabetes Management Program.

To be eligible for the National Diabetes Prevention Program, individuals must be overweight, not have a diabetes diagnosis, and have one or more of the following:

Elevated blood sugar levels

High blood pressure

Family history of diabetes

Physically inactive

History of gestational diabetes

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is recognized by the CDC and is built on the premise that small steps to become more active, eat more mindfully, and lose a small amount of weight can go a long way to keeping diabetes at bay. Valley Health Diabetes Management Program staff are trained to help participants make lasting change during 16 classes in the first six months, followed by monthly classes for the remaining six months. The program includes coaching to help develop skills to lose weight, be more physically active, manage stress and stay motivated.

Frederick County resident Pam Pampe completed the Diabetes Prevention Program in March of 2020, just as COVID-19 ground in-person gatherings to a halt. “The program was the perfect scenario for me,” Pampe says. “My numbers had gone up, and I had trouble losing weight because I hated dieting and exercising. Now I’m running 5Ks, and am either at the gym or doing a hard trek five days a week. I lost 17 pounds and I’m keeping it off. I love how I feel and how I look.”

Pampe credits the expertise of the instructors and the support of others in the group with helping her gradually make lifelong healthy changes. “We had a mixed group, including some folks who had difficulty walking any distance at all. They were candid about their struggles and by year’s end, we had all really made a difference in our lives.”

“While we would prefer the dynamic of in-person group meetings, we are committed to making the virtual sessions just as informative and interactive,” Herriott said. “And we hope the convenience of logging in, from home or lunchtime at work, makes the program even more accessible to those who are looking for support to make lasting, life-extending changes.”

To learn more or to register, call 540-536-5108 or visit www.valleyhealthlink.com/diabetes.

Valley Health is parent company of Winchester Medical Center and five other hospitals in the region.

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