(Louisville, KY)   Kentucky is among the ten states with the highest incidence of diabetes in the United States.  Ten per cent of Kentuckians are estimated to have diabetes, 20 percent of Kentuckians over the age of 65.  Clearly, the probability of getting diabetes goes up as Kentuckians get older.

To help combat the growing threat of diabetes, the YMCA of Greater Louisville and the YMCA of Central Kentucky in Lexington  have announced a new program that will provide scholarships to qualifying adults over the age of 65 enabling them to participate in the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

The “Get a Jump On Diabetes” scholarship campaign was announced Wednesday at a meeting of diabetes awareness advocates, diabetes educators, health care providers and others actively involved in efforts to prevent diabetes in Kentucky.

Erin Brown, Association Wellness Coordinator for the YMCA of Greater Louisville and Jay Hedlund, National Director of the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project,  introduced the program in Louisville, which will provide scholarships valued at about $300 to the first 50 senior adults in the YMCA of Greater Louisville service area,  as well as 50 scholarships to seniors in the YMCA of Central Kentucky’s service area. In order to qualify, adults must be over the age of 65, overweight, and diagnosed with prediabetes.

The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, which is open to adults of all ages, consists of sixteen weeks of classroom study led by a lifestyle coach who helps older adults learn about improving eating habits, ways to increase physical activity, and other changes than can lead to a healthier lifestyle.  The initial 16 weeks are followed by a maintenance program of up to a year.  The goals are to reduce body weight by 7 percent and increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week.

“Diabetes is one of the most serious health issues facing older adults in Kentucky,” says Brown.  “Yet research has shown that older adults can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 71 percent by participating in programs that help participants lose weight and increase physical activity.”

To qualify for the scholarships, senior adults, age 65 and older, must be be overweight and referred by a physician or health care professional certifying that blood values meet prediabetes levels.  Qualifying individuals do not have to join the YMCA to receive the scholarship and participate.

The scholarships are funded by Novo Nordisk through the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project, a coalition of more than 20 national patient, provider, industry and government organizations, co-chaired by the American Diabetes Association, the Healthcare Leadership Council and Novo Nordisk.

For more information, or to enroll:

In the Greater Louisville area:

the YMCA of Greater Louisville at 502-314-1613

In Lexington:

the YMCA of Central Kentucky at 859-367-7332