New Free Bernalillo County program helps prevent diabetes | KOB 4
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New Free Bernalillo County program helps prevent diabetes

Morgan Aguilar
December 21, 2017 08:23 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A new program being offered in Bernalillo County is seeing success in helping New Mexicans prevent diabetes.

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The National Diabetes Prevention Program is now available at the Bernalillo County Extension Office with no cost to participants.

"The program was so successful this first year, and people really stayed the entire year which was great and we had great diversity from all walks of life," said program Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Dianne Christensen, a program instructor.

The first class had about a dozen participants and will wrap up on Jan. 11. They started meeting once a week for the first 16 weeks, and once a month for the rest of the year. It's a big time commitment, but Christensen said it's worth it.

"One woman lost 32 pounds through the course of the year," Christensen said. "Other people got their a1cs down."

About a year ago, Diane Reese went to a regular check-up at the doctor and found out she had prediabetes.

"Which really, was very scary for me," Reese said. "The damage that diabetes does to your body, and the need for constant medication, I wanted to avoid that."

She was willing to pay for a nutritionist or other program, but she found out about the program being offered for free. She said she learned how to track what she’s eating, how to cook with diabetes prevention in mind, and started exercising regularly.

"I definitely made an impact there," Reese said. "No medication, no diagnosis of diabetes."

Her last blood test showed her blood sugar level is nearly normal now, plus she has made some new friends who share an interest in her new lifestyle.

"Really a key part is the support of the rest of the group,” Reese said.

In 2016, the New Mexico Department of Health found 14.6 percent of adult New Mexicans have diabetes, while another 33.4 percent have prediabetes.

"It is something with some attention, you can hopefully do some work to avoid," Reese said.

"Once you get the diagnosis of prediabetes you can, in most cases, you can head off diabetes just by making small but, again, powerful changes in what you eat and how active you are," added Christensen.

The second round of the program starts Jan. 25. Classes will be held at 1510 Menaul Blvd. NW in Albuquerque. Find out how to enroll by contacting Christensen with the NMSU Bernalillo County Cooperative Extension Service at (505) 243-1386.

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Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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