WHITE PLAINS, NY — Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today announced that the Westchester County Health Department is launching a new diabetes awareness campaign that encourages residents to identify their risk for diabetes and make lasting lifestyle changes to improve their health.
The campaign includes bilingual Bee-Line bus shelter and bus ads that encourage residents to take a prediabetes risk assessment test, promoting and leading diabetes prevention classes offered through the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, and a new bilingual educational brochure.
“These efforts can help Westchester residents reduce their chances of developing type 2 diabetes and provide them with great tools to make lasting healthy lifestyle changes,” said Astorino. “Another added benefit of healthy lifestyles is the lowered costs of health care that otherwise would be spent to treat obesity-related illness and disease, including type 2 diabetes.”
This work is being accomplished through the health department’s participation in the Hudson Community Health Alliance as part of a Local Initiatives for Multi-Sector Public Health Action grant (IMPACT). These outreach efforts are being promoted in November during National Diabetes Month to highlight potential solutions to this national health problem.
One in three adults in the U.S. age 20 or older have prediabetes, which means they have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke — among the leading causes of death in the U.S., according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nine out of 10 people with prediabetes are unaware that they have it.
Medical costs for people with diabetes average 2.3 times higher than for people without diabetes, according to the CDC. In 2012, direct medical costs for people with diabetes were estimated at $176 billion with an additional $69 billion in indirect costs.
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a nationally recognized program with a proven track record of preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. This program, which nationally costs $429 per participant, is being made available at no cost to residents through IMPACT grant funding and is offered through the Rye YMCA in Yonkers, and Port Chester, with more locations to come. It provides the skills and support residents need to make lasting lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and learning coping skills.
“Together with the Rye Y, we are giving residents a chance to get the support they need to make meaningful changes that can help them live longer, healthier lives,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “This program has been proven to succeed, so I strongly encourage residents who are diagnosed with prediabetes to take advantage of this opportunity.”
To find out if you qualify to participate, text “RISKTEST” to 97779 on your smartphone or go to a link at www.westchestergov.com/diabetes/prediabetes. To learn more, or to enroll in your area, call the Rye YMCA at 914-967-6363 x 206.
YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle coaches include three health department employees who will lead classes for residents at risk for or diagnosed with prediabetes. Their training was supported by IMPACT grant funding to Hudson River Health Care, which has subcontracted with the Westchester and Rockland county health departments. In Westchester, the aim of this grant is to reach adults in White Plains, Port Chester, Peekskill, Yonkers, Mount Vernon and New Rochelle, where residents are at increased risk for hypertension, diabetes and stroke. Three-year grant funding is provided by the New York State Department of Health through a grant from the CDC and continues through September 2018.
The campaign’s bus shelter and bus ads feature four different designs and prediabetes risk factor messages. The ads encourage residents to take the prediabetes risk test and promote the Diabetes Prevention Program. The interior bus ads appear in English and Spanish on every Bee-Line bus and the shelter ads have been placed throughout Westchester’s targeted IMPACT communities at locations with high volume and traffic visibility.
The health department also has developed a new “Keep Healthy and Know Your Numbers” brochure which promotes blood sugar screening and includes a wallet card where residents can track their glucose and cholesterol level, blood pressure and other important health numbers. The brochure will be available at www.westchestergov.com/health and will be distributed at health department clinics and in the community.