CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – During a time of year when sugar-laden indulgences grace the tables of festive holiday parties and family gatherings, LuAnn Munson is finding that perhaps one of the sweetest things in life is reclaiming your health.
Munson has participated in Summit Health’s inaugural “PreventT2” class since it began in late June. The free class is aimed at preventing Type 2 diabetes in people with risk factors for the disease who have been told by a physician they are prediabetic.
Since enrolling in the yearlong class, Munson’s nutrition, physical activity and energy have all gone up. Her blood glucose levels and weight have both gone down.
“After having blood work done, my doctor told me I was borderline [diabetic],” she said. “I knew I needed to do something, but I knew I needed help.”
Relatives on both sides of Munson’s family have had Type 2 diabetes, including a few from her immediate family.
“My grandmother died of diabetes and was blind,” she added.
The Mercersburg resident said she previously tried to take control of her health independently, but found it difficult without proper instruction, support and accountability. When she received an email at work about the PreventT2 class, she knew it was time to try again.
“I took it as my sign – like my calling card – that it was time to do something,” Munson explained.
The 59-year-old said she has watched others her age become ill and have difficulties with daily tasks people often for granted, things as simple as walking and getting where they need to go.
“I don’t want to be one of those people. I don’t want to go down that path.”
Munson said the class has helped reset her way of thinking about her lifestyle management.
The goals the class has given her for improving nutrition and increasing physical activity have been obtainable and allowed her to make small changes to build toward a healthier lifestyle.
Today, she understands what food labels mean, specifically as they relate to her blood glucose levels. She watches her portion sizes and has made it a priority to incorporate physical activity into her daily routine.
“The goals have been easy. I really think that with what I’m learning, I will be able to stick with it,” she said. “I really wish more people would do it. If I can do it, a lot of other people can do it.”
Designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the PreventT2 program has been shown to help those with prediabetes make healthy lifestyle changes that can cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than half. The classes are funded in part by Summit Endowment and the American Lung Association.
The CDC estimates that nationally, one in three adults is prediabetic. Without lifestyle changes, between 15- and 30-percent of people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes within five years.
The 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment found close to 14 percent of Franklin County residents have diabetes, which is an increase from the 2012 CHNA survey results that identified 10 percent of county residents as diabetic.
Summit Health will begin a new PreventT2 class in 2017. For more information, call (717) 262-4472 or click here.