Alaska Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion focuses on Diabetes prevention and new program

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center Partnership will be providing a new diabetes prevention program, and The Alaska Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is focusing on the disease for the month of December.

Leslie Shallcross explains about diabetes prevention (Carly Sjordal, KTVF)

Diabetes is a disease that happens when someone's blood sugar is too high. Most people develop diabetes over several years.

Leslie Shallcross, a professor in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and The Centers for Disease Control, was there to explain how it can cause complications. "When you have diabetes, the body can no longer produce enough insulin to affect blood sugar levels and take that energy into the cells where its needed,” explained Shallcross.

The CDC estimates one of three adults has prediabetes without even knowing it.

The most recent diabetes prevention report from the CDC for Alaska showed that diabetes contributed to the need for more than 70,000 hospital visits in 2016. The report also showed that diabetes is a leading cause of death in Alaska and increases people's chances of heart disease, stroke, and serious disabilities like blindness, amputation and kidney disease.

To reduce the number of new cases of diabetes, The Alaska Diabetes Prevention and Control Program developed by the CDC set a goal to increase the availability of prevention.

In a group setting led by trained lifestyle coaches like Shallcross, participants learn ways to eat healthier and be physically active, as well as develop problem-solving, stress-reduction, and coping skills.

Shallcross said it was important to note the program is based on research: "It reduced risk by about 58% in individuals under 60. Over 60 it actually reduced their risk of developing diabetes by about 71%."

The program's goal is for each participant is to lose at least 5% of body weight by reducing daily calories through food choices, gradually increasing exercise to at least 150 minutes per week, and developing problem-solving and coping skills for a healthy life style.

The program can be attended over the phone or in person. "We can make significant changes and significantly change whether or not we will develop diabetes,” added Shallcross.

Shallcross encourages the public to take the prediabetes risk quiz developed by CDC to determine increased chances of developing diabetes. The Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center has used this quiz to recruit 10 participants into the new program.

The prediabetes test can be taken at https://www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/takethetest/

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