Montefiore Nyack Hospital Now Enrolling Participants for Diabetes Prevention Program

Starting in the new year, Montefiore Nyack Hospital will be offering an additional service to the people of Rockland: a Diabetes Prevention Program. Designed for adults 18 years and over with prediabetes or at risk for type 2 diabetes, the free evidence-based, lifestyle change program will begin its time in Rockland with three separate cohorts based in New City’s Finkelstein Memorial Library, Nyack Library and the Haverstraw Center. Each DPP group will have the capacity for 12 members.

According to Director of Montefiore Nyack’s Community Health and Wellness department Sandra Arévalo, DPP’s unique schedule structure—weekly meetings for the first four months of the year, bi-weekly for the second four and monthly for the third—encourages members to increasingly integrate their new knowledge on preventing chronic disease and making healthy lifestyle choices into their daily lives over time.

“It’s all about behavior change,”Arévalo, who previously oversaw the program for 15 years through Montefiore’s Bronx location, explained. “We need to give people time to change their behavior. Sometimes when people are joining the programs they are able to keep up with the changes, but as they’re released from them they forget. So that’s the reason why it’s gradual.”

What Is Diabetes, and Who is at Risk?

Briefly defined by the CDC as a chronic health condition that affects how one’s body turns food into energy, diabetes is no laughing matter. While there are variations of the disease, all are characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), leading over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Though type 1 diabetes is typically a condition people are born with, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are more often acquired later in life by bad habits such as unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. People who are overweight—meaning they have a BMI over 25—are most at risk.

“The ‘good’ thing about Type II is that it’s preventable,” Arévalo noted. “People who are overweight or obese usually eat more carbs, more sugar. Little by little, this increases the glucose—the sugar in the blood in your body. So for that reason you will need more insulin to process all this glucose. That is why they are at a higher risk for getting type 2 diabetes.”

DPP: A Fun Way to Fight Back

While prospective DPP members must be prepared to work hard to make healthier choices, they should also expect to have fun. Hesitating to call it a traditional class due to the lack of lectures and prescriptive feedback, Arévalo emphasizes the interactive, discussion-based nature of the program, calling it a “skill builder” and “workshop” on topics like maintaining a balanced diet, food shopping, exercise, stress management and more.

Though results like losing at least 5% of one’s body weight through the duration of the program and reaching the stamina to exercise 150 minutes a week are ultimately expected, Arévalo still marvels at the way DPP conversations prompt participants to build their own community.

“Sometimes what happens is that you feel like you’re alone in your health quest,” Arévalo said. “So with others (in the program), you can be like, ‘Hey, I like to walk, and we live in the same neighborhood. Why don’t we walk together?’ That’s what this program is also about—forming friendships and partnerships so people can embark on this journey together.”

To enroll in one of DPP’s three cohorts in Rockland, call Montefiore Nyack Hospital’s Community Health and Wellness Department at 845-348-2004.

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