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VGH Launches Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Nearly half of American adults aged 65 or older have prediabetes. Without weight loss or routine moderate physical activity, many of them will develop type 2 diabetes within a few years. People with prediabetes are also at higher risk of having a heart attack and stroke.

If you're 65 or older and have been diagnosed with prediabetes, the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (Medicare DPP), offered by Virginia Gay Hospital, can help you make lasting changes to prevent type 2 diabetes and improve overall health. The program is free if you are enrolled in Medicare Part B.

In this program, you'll get a full year of support from a lifestyle coach and peers with similar goals, along with tips and resources for making lasting healthy changes. The program provides weekly 1-hour core sessions for up to 6 months and then monthly sessions for the rest of the year to help new, healthy habits stick and keep you from slipping back into old habits. You'll also learn how to manage stress, set and achieve realistic goals, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of your goals.

"So many people in our community have prediabetes," said Sara Wattnem, VGH Dietitian and Food and Nutrition Services Manager. "This program offers a real chance to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by adopting a healthier lifestyle."

The Medicare DPP is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is backed by years of research showing that program participants aged 60 and older can cut their risk of type 2 diabetes by 71 percent-by losing weight, eating better, and being more active. It can also improve participants' overall health, including lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack.

With the changes you make to your diet and physical activity through the program, you may feel better and have more energy to do the things you love. You may even be able to manage other conditions like high cholesterol or high blood pressure with fewer medications.

Another benefit of the program is that you'll meet others with the same challenges. Having the support of a group can help you get through difficult moments and learn from one another. You can even join the program with friends or family members who are eligible to prevent type 2 diabetes and make healthy changes together.

Our next class starts in August, with weekly sessions held at VGH; spots are filling up fast, so reserve your spot today! If you have Medicare Part B and think this program might be right for you, call Sara Wattnem, 319-472-6224, or talk to your health care provider about being tested for prediabetes. For more information, please go

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