Community partners offer class to prevent type 2 diabetes

February 13, 2017 Comments Off on Community partners offer class to prevent type 2 diabetes

A group of community partners in Itasca County have come together to improve health and prevent chronic disease. As a direct result of the collaboration, classes that are proven to help people lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes are expanding across the county in the coming months.

Representatives of Itasca County Public Health, the University of Minnesota Extension, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Essentia Health – Deer River, Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital, Itasca County Family YMCA and Healthy Northland have been meeting regularly since late 2015 to address type 2 diabetes prevention in the county. Expanding the Diabetes Prevention Program was chosen as an effective strategy.

In addition to a number of new public classes, classes are being offered to Second Harvest clients and Itasca County employees.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes, and most don’t know it. Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes. Fifteen to 30 percent of those cases progress to type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Making healthy lifestyle changes can prevent diabetes, and the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) has been proven by a national research study to help people make those changes.

The DPP is a one-year program where participants meet once a week for 16 weeks, then once a month for the remainder of the year. Participants learn how to eat healthy, be more active, manage stress and stay motivated. Led by a trained lifestyle coach, participants learn with others in the program to gain the skills needed to make lasting changes.

Julie, an Itasca County resident, recently graduated from the DPP class.

“Over the years, I have been on the sideline watching my fasting glucose numbers creep up into the prediabetes stage. My doctor kept warning me because of my family history (maternal grandmother, mother and sister are diabetic) that I needed to change or I too would become diabetic,” she said.

“I made a decision that if I was going to become diabetic, it would not be because I didn’t try” Julie said. “So I joined the YMCA. Then I heard about the DPP program and immediately signed up! What an eye opener this was! Through this program, I was able to lower my fasting glucose to 93 and my cholesterol is down 40 points – I no longer have prediabetes! I cannot tell you how ecstatic and how proud I am! I know I would not have been able to do this on my own.”

Dr. Darin Skaudis from Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital had this to say about the program.

“I routinely refer patients to the diabetes prevention program (DPP) at the Itasca Family YMCA.  The passionate group of educators at the DPP is eager to help people improve glucose levels, work on individual weight loss programs, and help develop realistic lifestyle changes. The patients I have referred to the program have had great success.  It is possible to prevent and reverse type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.  Ask your provider to check your hemoglobin A1C if you ever had elevated blood glucose levels. Prediabetes A1c range is from 5.7 to 6.4%.”

Those that are over the age of 45, overweight, physically active fewer than three times per week or have a family history of type 2 diabetes are at risk for prediabetes. Take the quiz at or talk to your doctor to find out if you have prediabetes.

The class, normally $429, is being offered at a reduced price thanks to the support of the partners listed above, Healthy Northland, the Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Register now for any of these Diabetes Prevention Classes in Itasca County.

  • Tuesdays at 10:30 am – 11:30 am, beginning February 7th at the Itasca County Family YMCA in Grand Rapids. The cost is $100 for YMCA members or $150 for non-members. Sponsorships are available. Register by calling Kristin Klinfelter at (218) 327-1161 or emailing
  • Mondays at 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, beginning February 20th at the Goodall Center in Deer River. This class is offered free thanks to community benefit funding from Essentia-Deer River. Register by calling Kim Diehl at 218-246-4366 or emailing>.
  • Mondays at 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm, beginning March 6th at the Itasca County Family YMCA in Grand Rapids. The cost is $100 for YMCA members or $150 for non-members. Sponsorships are available. Register by calling Kristin Klinefelter at (218) 327-1161 or emailing