December 11, 2017
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Deer Isle Diabetes Prevention Program Paying Off

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DEER ISLE—A collaborative wellness team from Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, MDI Hospital’s Coastal Care Team and Healthy Acadia has been facilitating a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) that has been making a difference for area community members. The free course, which meets on Mondays from 4:00 -5:00 p.m. at the Deer Isle-Stonington High School, began in October of 2014. Participants have met almost weekly for the past 5 months and are already seeing results. In May, they will begin meeting once a month for an additional six months.

“I’m so excited this is working. I tend to eventually sabotage myself on something like this so it’s especially self-encouraging that I progress each week. Gotta say, this is a great program and you all are great coaches! Thank you,” said Caroline S., a recent participant in the prevention program.

The free class is designed to provide information on how to prevent diabetes by cutting fat grams and exercising for a minimum of 150 minutes per week. By following the program, participants can lose 7-10 percent of their body weight and lower their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

“We’ve seen amazing changes, not just in weight loss and increased activity, but in attitudes for sustained change. At 5 months into the program, nine participants have lost a total of 160 pounds, and almost every participant has met, or exceeded, their 7 percent body weight loss,” says Brenda Merritt, a Deer Isle resident, and tri-facilitator of the Diabetes Prevention group.

The community based CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program is evidence-based for preventing type 2 diabetes. This year-long program helps participants make small successive changes in diet, physical activity, and stress management. The Deer Isle meetings, hosted by three trained facilitators, have offered a support system for participants to share their successes and manage their setbacks.

Studies have shown that 86 million American adults, more than 1 out of 3, have prediabetes. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15-30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. People who have prediabetes are at higher risk of serious health conditions: blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and loss of toes, feet, or legs. If you have prediabetes, losing weight by eating healthy and being more active can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half.

The program is funded by a $450,000 grant from the Health Resources Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MDI Hospital was awarded the grant in order to lead in the development and implementation of a patient-based program to identify those who may be at risk for diabetes and provide evidence-based methods on finding ways to improve their health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three adults in the U.S. is at risk for developing diabetes, and many who are pre-diabetic may not be aware of that risk.

For more information about future DPP classes, contact MDI Hospital coordinator Heather Lewis at 801-9008 or