Good Place Akron

Increase 'diabetes IQ' with Akron Area YMCA

by Staff Writer

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the Akron Area YMCA is encouraging the community to learn the risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes to take preventive steps to potentially reduce the chances of developing the disease.

Currently, one in three Summit, Medina and Portage County residents have prediabetes — a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only a small percent of those with prediabetes know they have it. With awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

According to an estimate from the Ohio Department of Health, 69,087 cases of adult type 2 diabetes were reported in the Akron Area YMCA’s service area of Summit, Portage and Medina counties. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also estimated there were 85 annual deaths related to diabetes for these counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 35 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 years or older and 50 percent of those aged 65 years or older had prediabetes. Data from a 2010 Census indicated 238,684 cases of prediabetes in adults 20 and older in the Akron Area YMCA’s service area.

Studies showing the predominance of prediabetes and diabetes in Ohio communities have continued over the years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report in 2012 finding that Ohio’s 9.3 percent rate of diabetes was higher than most Midwestern states, where the average is 7.5 percent.

Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis. With awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

“As a leading voice on improving the nation’s health and well-being, the Akron Area YMCA wants residents of our community to understand their risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes,” said Doug Kohl, Akron Area YMCA President & CEO. “Oftentimes, understanding that a person is at risk is the first step to making the necessary changes needed to live better, healthier lives.”

Akron Area YMCA employs Licensed Athletic Trainers (AT) in Y Wellness/Fitness Centers so members may discuss wellness objectives and set goals, receive fitness assessments and design, implement and adjust fitness plans to engage and support members in a healthy lifestyle. In addition to many health and wellness programs, the Akron Area YMCA is in the process of adding a diabetes prevention-specific program by the end of 2014, furthering the organization's commitment to listen and respond to the needs of the community.

Getting on a track to a healthier lifestyle starts with making basic lifestyle changes that can contribute to weight loss and healthy living. This ultimately helps decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Among these lifestyle changes are:

• Eating fruits and vegetables every day.
• Choosing fish, lean meats and poultry without skin.
• Aiming for whole grains with every meal.
• Being moderately active at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
• Drinking water instead of beverages with added sugar.
• Speaking with your doctor about your diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history of diabetes or are overweight.

To learn more about the healthy living programs at the Akron Area YMCA, contact a Y branch near you or visit

Courtesy of the Akronist

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