Miami County YMCA diabetes program here to help

By Sam Wildow -

MIAMI COUNTY — With diabetes or the possibility of becoming diabetic impacting many people’s day-to-day lives, the Miami County YMCA is offering a program to help. The Miami County YMCA is currently enrolling participants for an eight-week program on diabetes education, support, and self-management.

“This course really gives them all the tools they need to make healthy lifestyle changes,” Heather Sever, health and wellness director of the Piqua branch of YMCA, said.

The goal of the program is to bring awareness and education to the community about the risk factors related to diabetes and chronic illnesses associated with diabetes. It is a free program based on referral that says the participants are either diagnosed diabetic or pre-diabetic, Sever said.

According to the National Council on Aging, diabetes affects 12.2 million Americans who are 60 years old and older, or approximately 23 percent of the older population. Approximately another 57 million Americans who are 20 and older have pre-diabetes, “which increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke,” according to the National Council on Aging. “In a 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program for people at high risk for developing diabetes, lifestyle intervention reduced risk by 71 (percent) among those aged 60 (and older).”

Each session will focus on different topics to help participants create healthy habits and learn to manage their pre-diabetes or diabetes symptoms.

“Each week there’s different topics,” Sever said. For some of the lessons, the YMCA has a nurse come from the Upper Valley Medical Center who will talk about diabetes and the effects it has on the body. For other lessons, they have a nutritionist who discusses what the participants should be eating.

“She also talks about going to the grocery store at another class,” said Sever, who will also talk about exercise. “I will talk about diabetes and physical activities and how being physically active affects their health.”

The hope of the program is for those participants who apply what they learn to their own lives to see results.

“I’ve seen people really make huge changes,” Sever said, adding that she has even seen some participants who follow through all of the tips get off of diabetes medication.

In addition to the educational seminars, the program offers free personal training and membership with the Miami County YMCA during the program and for six months after participants graduate. The class will be held Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., beginning March 15, at the YMCA’s Piqua branch, 223 W. High St. This program is possible through funding from the United Way.

To register for the program or for more information, contact Heather Sever at the Miami County YMCA at (937) 773-9622 or

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall