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Lions Club Donates To Prediabetes Class

A Lions Club International Foundation grant was recently awarded to Penn Highlands Healthcare to start a prediabetes education program called, “Group Lifestyle Balance: Diabetes Prevention.”

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, 86 million Americans adults have prediabetes. In Pennsylvania, 35.8 percent have prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

When Jeril Goss of The Diabetes and Nutrition Wellness Center of Penn Highlands DuBois did the math, it showed that the three county areas - Clearfield, Jefferson and Elk - shared population of 158,337, resulting in approximately 20,267 with diabetes and 56, 684 with prediabetes.
Diabetes is a disorder in which blood glucose levels are not in where they should be. They fluctuate based on diet, exercise, weight and other factors. Diabetes not only affects the blood, but the organs of the body. This leads to a higher amount of heart disease and stroke for diabetes patients.

Prediabetes is a condition when a patient’s numbers are very close to a diabetes diagnosis, and diabetes will be down the road if lifestyle changes are not made.

“We want to stop diabetes in its tracks for people,” Goss said. “With this Lions Club International Foundation grant, our goal is to provide this diabetes prevention program to participants in the Penn Highlands DuBois service area the first year and then to include programs to the Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands Clearfield and Penn Highlands Elk service areas in the second year.”

Each of five local Lions Clubs – Sykesville, Treasure Lake, DuBois, Punxsutawney and Horton Township - contributed $500 and LCIF another $14,884 to cover the initial two-year implementation of the Penn Highlands program.

“We have applied for and received pending recognition from the CDC for our diabetes prevention program. Once we have completed and submitted necessary statistics for one entire year long program, we will achieve full recognition. The grant is providing us with the funding to provide the program to achieve the CDC recognition.”

“To receive the grant, five local Lions Clubs and the regional Lions District have worked with LCIF to help Penn Highlands obtain a Core 4 Grant to establish an outreach program for helping area residents with prediabetes create life-style changes to avoid disease progression to full diabetes,” according to Gary Peters of Lions Club of DuBois.

“Such grants are called CORE 4 grants as they support the 4 Core efforts of LCIF: Combating Disability, Promoting Health, Serving Youth and Preserving Sight. CORE 4 is an international effort for which LCIF will assist single and multiple District Lions Organizations support large-scale projects with up to $75,000 for single District efforts and $200,000 for those involving multiple Lions Districts,” he said.

“We truly appreciate the Lions Club for this help. We are hoping to give people the tools to live a healthier, longer life,” Goss said.

What is the prediabetes class about? And who is it for?

“This year long structured program will be led by a Registered Dietitian and includes
weekly sessions for the first 16 weeks, followed by bi-weekly and then monthly sessions,” Goss said.

“The emphasis will be on lifestyle changes to help prevent diabetes and lower risk for heart disease,” she said. It will also show slow and safe increases in physical activity, how to problem solve, manage stress and stay motivated.

Who is eligible for referral to a diabetes prevention program? To be eligible for referral, patients must be age 18 or older with no previous diagnosis of diabetes. The person should be overweight and have a blood test result in the prediabetes range within the past year, or be previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

How does a diabetes prevention program work? Penn Highlands Healthcare’s Group Lifestyle Balance Program funded by the Lions Club International Foundation is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and uses lifestyle change interventions that target improving diet, increasing physical activity and achieving moderate weight loss.

The goal for each participant is to lose at least 5 percent or more of body weight by progressively reducing dietary intake of calories and fat through improved food choices. They will also gradually increasing moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking and develop problem-solving and coping skills for stress.

This isn’t just a one day program. Participants will have the benefit of 16 educational sessions over the first six months followed by at least one session a month for support afterwards.

To sign up or for more information, call the Diabetes and Nutrition Wellness Center at 814-375-3890.