Delaying the onset of type-two diabetes with wellness programs

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – With the help of Ann Constance and the Upper Peninsula Diabetes Outreach Network, Lynn St. Aubin says she likely delayed or prevented the onset of diabetes.

At the Negaunee Senior Center in 2017, St. Aubin received a flyer about the diabetes prevention class that UPDON would be holding at the center. She attended and through the prediabetes screening test decided the program would be a good fit.

“Seeing all of the different risk factors made me realize that I was at higher risk for diabetes than I even thought I was,” said St. Aubin. “The only thing I thought was a problem was my mother had been a diabetic, my grandmother had been a diabetic and so I knew that family history could be definitely a risk factor.”

St. Aubin remembers seeing her grandmother go through the ill effects of diabetes along with watching her mother with diabetes. She says she remembers seeing her mother prepare to take insulin and hoping she wouldn’t also get diabetes.

“Me going to the class wasn’t because I was already in a prediabetic state but it was like I said the risk factors you know just pointed that I could very easily end up in that direction,” said St. Aubin.

The class offers tools for preventing diabetes and what factors contribute to type 2 diabetes. St. Aubin says the peer support from the group has kept her on track.

“Ann gave us the tools that we needed, she gave us the guidance that we needed, but man the support that comes from those other people that are in the class is just fantastic,” said St. Aubin. “This time of the year we only meet with Ann once a month during the winter months and we get along so well and we need each other’s support so much that we’ve actually been zooming every week.”

Ann Constance is the Director for the U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network, she says the program teaches about food, exercise and stress topics.

“Each week we cover a different topic and each week, each participant gets a handout so that they have something to take home with them that they can refer to when it works for them,” said Constance. “And we weigh in every week there’s a weigh in, we’re not doing that since we’re doing zoom but I’m still asking people to check in to see how their weights going and we talk about that.”

Constance says they start every class by talking about what went well or didn’t go well since the last class. The class is free for participants and people can take it several times. St. Aubin has taken the class three times to help reach her goal. She says she hasn’t met it yet but has felt accomplished in losing weight.

The classes meet for a year, twice a month in the first six months then once a month for the last six. Currently UPDON isn’t offering any new classes but there are other online programs that are available through Michigan State University.


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