Meritus Health’s program to prevent type 2 diabetes has been honored with Full Plus Recognition, the highest distinction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A program with a highly-successful track record, it highlights the health system’s commitment to improving the health of the region.
Full Plus Recognition not only means that Meritus consistently enrolled and engaged participants for one year, but that lifestyle coaches helped participants to achieve their goals and meet 5% weight loss, 4% weight loss and 150 minutes of activity each week or a reduction in participant A1C by .2% or more.
Meeting these goals reduces a participant's risk of developing diabetes by over 50%.
“While our in-person class already has this honor, we’ve been notified by the CDC that our virtual program has also been recognized. The pandemic has shown us that many things can be accomplished just as well virtually, and we’re proving that with success in this virtual class,” said Norma Patterson, diabetes prevention coordinator.
The program focuses on what participants can change to help decrease the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. There are risk factors that can’t be controlled – including family history, ethnicity and age. However, lifestyle changes that lower blood pressure and reaching a healthier weight can reduce a patient’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
“We’ve found that active participants in the program work toward the goal of losing 5-7% of their body weight, and getting 150 minutes of moderate activity each week,” Patterson said.
It worked for 26-year-old Cristian Castillo Rangel who lost 40 pounds through the program.
“I gained new love for fitness and health,” he said. “My relationship with food has been much better than before, and for once, I am content with who I see in the mirror,” he added.
In the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment, prevention and management of diabetes and hypertension were identified as goals for the community. Meritus is leading the way in providing the necessary resources by expanding diabetes prevention program sites, classes and adding virtual classes and increasing provider referrals.
“More than half of the residents in Washington County are considered unhealthy, according to the Community Health Needs Assessment, and type 2 diabetes and an inactive lifestyle contribute heavily to that,” said Patterson said. “Our Prevent T2 program is solely focused on changing those statistics,” she added.
For resources, including the Type 2 risk test, and information on the Meritus Health diabetes prevention program, visit MeritusHealth.com/Diabetes.