Community members are preventing type 2 diabetes together with the year-long PreventT2 Lifestyle Change Program offered by Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. Guided by a trained lifestyle coach, groups of participants are learning the skills they need to make lasting changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active, and managing stress.

PreventT2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which is led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The local program starts on Aug. 22 at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast.

PreventT2 groups meet for one full year. They meet once a week for the first 16 weeks, then once or twice a month for the next eight months to encourage and maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Participants learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.

"The time is now,” said Linsey Hall, RN, diabetes educator for Sacred Heart Hospital. “One in three American adults has prediabetes and 90 percent do not know it.”

People with prediabetes — higher than normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are five to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. Many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes sometime within the next five years.

People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they are 45 years of age or older; are overweight; have a family history of type 2 diabetes; are physically active fewer than three times per week; have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

For more information on enrollment, class schedules, cost or to speak to an education specialist, call 850-278-3546 or email Linsey.Hall@ascension.org.