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The Kearney Family YMCA is helping people change today for a healthier tomorrow.

The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Program and supported by the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, aims to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

“We’re lucky that the city of Kearney has something like this,” said YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator Laura Aden. “Obesity and diabetes are an epidemic in our country.”

The Kearney Family YMCA is the first in Nebraska to offer the diabetes prevention program. There are 81 YMCAs in 34 states offering the program.

The National Institutes of Health conducted a study to see if simple daily behavior modifications could prevent the onset of diabetes.

The NIH found that people who reduced their body weight by a small percentage and increased their daily physical activity reduced their chances of getting type 2 diabetes, Aden said.

Research by the NIH shows that diabetes prevention programs can reduce the number of new cases by 58 percent and by 71 percent in adults older than age 60.

The YMCA’s one-year program includes 16 weekly sessions followed by monthly maintenance sessions.

Participants will meet in a small group to learn about healthier eating and increasing physical activity.

“We also talk about the psychological part of it — how our mind is probably the biggest deterrent (in losing weight),” Aden said.

Each participant will have a goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent and increasing physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

The program is open to overweight adults, 18 years of age and older, with pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes must be confirmed by a blood test, a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes or a qualifying risk score.

The cost is $250 for members and $310 for nonmembers.

Payment plans are available. Scholarships also are available.

The first class will begin at the end of July.

The program is being paid for with a $74,000 two-year grant from the CDC’s National Diabetes Program.

The Y is committed to providing programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We make every effort to ensure that no one is turned away due to inability to pay. Click to read more about our financial assistance.