Wednesday, January 6, 2016

NORMAN - Oklahoma has the sixth highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity; Better Polices for a Healthier America. Diabetes is also the sixth leading cause of death in the state. Norman Regional Health System's National Diabetes Prevention Program offers Oklahomans the tools, education and support system to help participants with prediabetes prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

"9 out of 10 people with prediabetes do not know they have it and without lifestyle changes 15-30% of people with prediabetes will develop diabetes within 5 years," said Christie Bruehl, Diabetes Education Specialist, Norman Regional Health System. "Evidence-based programs like the National Diabetes Prevention Program can help individuals obtain real results by giving them the tools to change their risk. With the right tools and support we can help Oklahoma turn these numbers around."

More than 329,000 Oklahomans, 18 years and older, were diagnosed with diabetes in 2012 according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The Norman Regional Diabetes Education Center began offering the evidence-based program in June 2013. Recruitment and registration for the next program is currently underway.

To date over 100 participants have enrolled in our National Diabetes Prevention Program with an overall completion rate of 86.5%", said Bruehl. "We are proud to be Oklahoma's first and only fully recognized Diabetes Prevention Program by CDC."

Participants in the prevention program meet as a group with trained lifestyle coaches and learn how to make important changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active and managing stress over the yearlong program.

Patti Presson participated in the cohort finishing this past summer. Presson said she found it difficult to lose weight even though she thought she was eating well. After noticing some other coworkers were losing weight that were of a similar age she asked them what they were doing and that is when she first found out about the program and decided to give it a try. "A year-long program seemed daunting at first," said Presson. "But that year was full of very helpful information, education about diabetes and how to prevent it, and it was all presented in a positive atmosphere. Having others in the class I could talk to and get other ideas from was helpful and I liked that support. It was the best year I have ever spent." Through the program Presson has been success at losing 20 lbs., says she is better motivated to exercise and walk more, is more aware of what she is eating and now carefully reads the labels on the food she buys. "I would recommend this program to anyone, even if they think they know all about prediabetes or diabetes," said Presson.

In order to qualify for the program, patients must be at least 18 years old, be overweight with a BMI of 24 or greater, have established risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes or have been diagnosed with prediabetes within the past year or previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes while pregnant. Patients can be referred to the Diabetes Prevention Program by completing a referral to the Diabetes Center with a notation for Prediabetes Program.

There will be a free National Diabetes Prevention Program information session for those interested in the program on Thursday, January 14 from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center Auditorium, 901. N. Porter Avenue, Norman. Space is limited. Registration for the free information session can be made at 405-307-5733.