On Wednesday, federal regulators announced that a nutrition and fitness counseling program run by the YMCA over the last five years was a sheer success and should be expanded.
Since 2011, people that are more prone to develop diabetes lost 5 percent of their weight under the program, while some of those that had diabetes no longer needed diabetes treatment after taking part in the program.
The YMCA program cost about $12 million since its debut in 2011. The cash was provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Wednesday, when ACA marked its sixth anniversary, that it was the time to talk more about diabetes prevention.
Burwell added that diabetes prevention programs such as YMCA’s could help authorities and health care providers spend taxpayer money more wisely, and help millions of people stay away from the chronic disease.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimate that an expansion of the YMCA program could save $2,650 in medical costs per individual over the next 15 months.
In the U.S., about 30 million people live with the condition. Additionally, type 2 diabetes is tied to a couple of deaths every five minutes in North America. One in three Americans has pre-diabetes, a condition that suggests they may soon develop type 2 diabetes if they fail to take the best course of action to prevent it. Pre-diabetes patients also have a higher-than-normal risk of cardiovascular disease.
Federal regulators now hope that the success of the YMCA program could inspire insurers and employers alike to pay for other initiatives to prevent the disease.
Still, in some parts of the country, on the other hand, pre-diabetes patients were not able to access the YMCA program although they were perfectly eligible. Local hospitals either did not run the program or they offered too few classes to help Medicare recipients make meaningful lifestyle changes to prevent the condition. As a result, many of them developed diabetes despite their best intentions to be proactive about their healthcare.
Health authorities estimate that the Diabetes Prevention Program can lower the number of new diabetes cases by up to 72 percent if it is properly implemented. Jonathan Lever of the YMCA pledged that more Ys will promote and run the program.
Robert Ratner of the American Diabetes Association, who attended this Wednesday’s press conference, noted that YMCA’s initiative was extremely ‘encouraging’ especially since it has successfully managed to translate a national prevention program into community-based actions.
Image Source: Pixabay