Diet fads come and go, and often leave people worse off than they were when they started. But with obesity tied to chronic diseases including diabetes, finding a way to lose weight and keep it off can be critical.
Hundreds of Utahns have been changing their lifestyles — and reversing their prediabetes diagnoses — through the unique CDC-accredited national diabetes prevention program, Weigh to Health.
Weigh to Health participants lose an average of 5.1 percent of their starting weight, and keep it off by setting personal goals around moderate physical activity and dietary changes, according to the most recent data Intermountain Healthcare submitted to CDC for accreditation. Participants are decreasing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, and by 71 percent for those ages 60 years and older.
The Weigh to Health curriculum was created by Intermountain Healthcare, and is accredited by the CDC.
“Simply put: Weigh to Health works,” said Karlee Adams, MPH, RDN, CSOWM, a registered dietitian nutritionist with Intermountain Healthcare and a Weigh to Health facilitator. “We help participants understand what they need to do to make a lifestyle change to improve their prediabetes diagnosis and their health and well-being long-term. The individual changes they make for themselves yield inspiring results.”
About 1 in 3 adults nationwide have prediabetes, but about 90 percent of them don’t realize it, Adams said. Rather than wait for Type 2 diabetes to emerge, Adams recommends people heed the following risk factors and ask their provider if they need a blood-sugar test:
· Overweight or obese
· 45 years or older
· A parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes
· Physically active less than three times a week
· History of diabetes during pregnancy or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
· Polycystic ovary syndrome
· African American, Latinx, American Indian, Pacific Islander, or Asian American ethnicity.
Prediabetes can be addressed by the Weigh to Health program. Weigh to health uses evidence-based methods to help adults boost physical activity, improve nutrition, and address several weight-related health conditions — primarily, prediabetes.
The yearlong, personalized program includes one-on-one visits and small classes, and is facilitated by registered dietitian nutritionists. Courses include guest speakers, exercise basics, cooking skills and stress management.
On average, Weigh to Health program participants:
· Increase average moderate physical activity by 60 minutes per week to a total of 137 minutes per week
· Increase fruit and vegetable intake from 2.7 to 4.1 servings per day
· Reduce screen time from 3.5 hrs. to 2.7 hours per day
· Increase meals eaten at a table without distractions from 4.8 to 7.9 meals per week
· Decrease sugar sweetened beverage intake from 2.9 to 1.1 drinks per week.
“These types of small lifestyle changes make a huge difference in a person’s wellness,” Adams said. “When you’re eating well and exercise, you’re able avoid many chronic diseases that can take years off your life. Plus, you feel better. It’s inspiring for me to see so many people be able to improve their wellness and well-being, and start living healthier, more active lives.”
More information is available at intermountainhealthcare.org/weightohealth.