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Diabetes is a growing epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 million Americans or 9.4 percent of the population have diabetes. Another 84.1 million Americans have prediabetes.

That means one in three American adults have prediabetes. Without intervention, 15-30 percent of those with prediabetes will develop diabetes within five years. People in our country are consuming more highly processed, high fat, high calorie foods than ever before. Studies show that the average American also does not get the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. This is leading to soaring obesity rates which goes hand in hand with the diabetes epidemic.

Prediabetes is diagnosed with a fasting blood sugar of 100-125 or Hgb A1c of 5.7 to 6.4. Those with a BMI of 25 or greater are also at risk, as well as women who have a history of gestational diabetes or who have had a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth.

So how can diabetes be prevented? With early diagnosis, prediabetes can often be reversed. Making healthy food choices including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes is a good place to start. This means limiting high fat, high calorie, processed foods and filling your place with healthy food choices.

Setting a goal of working towards a minimum of 150 minutes of activity/week will also help prevent Type 2 diabetes. Losing 5-7 percent of your body weight and getting more than 150 minutes of activity each week has been shown to prevent diabetes in 58 percent of those studied.

The National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) is one way to help you meet these goals. This is a yearlong program that provides one-hour weekly sessions in the first three months, bimonthly sessions in the next six months and monthly sessions in the last three months. Columbus Community Hospital has been offering this CDC-recognized program since 2017.

Participants in our program have lost an average of five to six percent of their weight and average 195-240 minutes of activity/week. Those who have met these goals have improved their A1cs, as well as other labs including their lipid levels.

We will be holding free NDPP informational sessions from 12-1 p.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 in the Prairie Room. If you or someone you know is at risk for diabetes, we encourage you to come find out more about the program.

For more information, you can call me at 402-562-4462 or call Amy Soulliere, BSN, RN, at 402-562-3322 or log on to our website at

Joan Plummer is a RD, LMNT, CDE at Columbus Community Hospital.

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