Friday, 04 December 2020 12:25

FirstHealth of the Carolinas preventing type 2 diabetes with proven program

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PINEHURST — Community members are preventing type 2 diabetes together with the PreventT2 lifestyle change program offered by FirstHealth of the Carolinas. 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.


People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Samantha Allen, health education specialist with FirstHealth Community Health Services. “The PreventT2 program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”

Prevent T2 classes are being offered by FirstHealth in seven counties: Moore Montgomery, Richmond, Hoke, Lee, Scotland and Harnett counties.  The classes are part of the Minority Diabetes Prevention Project funded by the NC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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 healthy changes. 

PreventT2 groups in Richmond County meet from 10 to 11 a.m. or 5 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Richmond County Health Department at 127 Caroline Street in Rockingham.  In light of COVID-19, participants are given the option to attend the classes virtually.  Those who attend in-person classes will be required to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines outlined by the class facilitator.

The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.  Participants can earn incentives such as $10 gas cards, George Foreman grills, air fryers, fitness trackers, weight scales, food scales and more.

PreventT2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is based on research that showed that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

“Small changes can add up to a big difference,” added Allen. “Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, PreventT2 participants are making lasting changes  together.”

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; or
  • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

To qualify for the class, participants must have a fasting glucose between 100 and 125 and A1c of 5.7-6.4. This test needs to be within the last year.

To enroll in the PreventT2 program offered by FirstHealth Community Health Services, or for more information about the program, call 910-715-6271.

PreventT2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is proven to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Research shows that modest behavior changes, such as making better food choices and increasing physical activity, reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people at high risk for developing this disease. The National Diabetes Prevention Program brings together federal agencies, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, employers, insurers, health care professionals, academia, and other stakeholders to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people with prediabetes. www.cdc.gov/PreventT