Special to the News-Journal

Community members are preventing type 2 diabetes together with the PreventT2 lifestyle change program offered by Christus Good Shepherd Health System. Guided by a trained lifestyle coach, groups of participants are learning the skills they need to make lasting changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active and managing stress.

People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within five years.

“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Sabrina S. Miles, program director of outpatient diabetes education at Christus Good Shepherd Health System. “The PreventT2 program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”

PreventT2 participants learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes. PreventT2 groups meet over a minimum of several months — often weekly, then monthly — to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together, participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.

PreventT2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program and led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program meets at the Christus Good Shepperd Institute for Healthy Living in the classroom on the first floor (follow the signs). The free program is 16 weeks long and will begin with the first meeting from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

PreventT2 is based on research that showed that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

Nationwide implementation of the program could greatly reduce future cases of type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet or legs.

“Small changes can add up to a big difference,” Miles said. “Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, PreventT2 participants can make lasting changes together.”

People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:

■ Are 45 years of age or older;

■ Are overweight;

■ Have a family history of type 2 diabetes;

■ Are physically active fewer than three times per week; or

■ Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

To participate in the PreventT2 Lifestyle Change Program offered by Christus Good Shepherd you must fit the following criteria:

■ 18 years or older and BMI = 24 (22 if Asian)

■ No previous diagnosis of type 1 or 2 diabetes

■ Diagnosis of prediabetes (borderline) within the past year or diagnosis of gestational diabetes (pregnant women who have never had diabetes before, but who have high blood glucose during pregnancy)

To learn more about the program, call Sabrina Miles at (903) 323-6573 or visit https://tinyurl.com/y54gcudy .