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Sunday, May 19, 2024

YMCA addresses chronic disease with evidence-based programs [Free Read]

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver”
– Mahatma Gandhi

The YMCA of Southeastern NC expands its evidence-based programming to address chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity

As a community-facing organization, the Y’s mission has long since been focused on helping people to live their healthiest lives and reach their full potential in mind, body, and spirit, acknowledging that individual “health” is influenced by a range of interconnected environmental, social, and biological factors.

The Y is now leveraging its position – an organization capable of inciting change at the individual, community and national levels – to increase access to disease prevention and management resources related to chronic disease.

When 7 out of the 10 leading causes of death and 86% of healthcare spending in our country are related to chronic disease, we know that “the way we’ve always done things” has to change.

Over the past few years, YMCAs across the nation have begun launching evidence-based programs that are designed to target and combat a growing number of health concerns in the United States. The preventative nature of these programs is structured to help individuals take long-term control of their health and well-being to avert the onset of costly chronic illness, such as diabetes type 2, high blood pressure and obesity. Accordingly, active engagement in these courses may prevent participants from incurring additional healthcare costs and expenditures in the future.

The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina is one of the first YMCA associations here in North Carolina that is offering all of the community health programs available to YMCAs in an effort to make our community health a priority. Read more below about the transformational programming that is offered throughout the year in both New Hanover and Brunswick Counties:

Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes kills more Americans every year than AIDS and breast cancer combined, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. Unfortunately for Americans, the ADA reports that the cases of diabetes in the U.S. is rapidly rising, with the number of diagnosed diabetes increasing a whopping 382% between 1988 to 2014. The report points out that 85.2% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

While the statistics are alarming, YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program offers hope with its program created to equip class members with the tools and information to reduce and prevent type 2 diabetes. Guided by a trained coach and working in groups, participants embark on a 12-month journey to achieve the following goals: modest weight loss, increased physical activity, healthier lifestyle and diet.

To learn more about this program, please click here or contact Program Coordinator, Bridget Carroll at (910) 251-9622 (ext. 273) or

Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring

High-blood pressure, also known as hypertension, currently affects more than 75 million Americans and 1 in every 3 adults, according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) Perhaps more alarming, is that CDC cites a similar percentage – 1 in 3 adults – for Americans diagnosed with pre-hypertension. The YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring program aims to curb these statistics.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries carrying blood from your heart to other parts of your body. While blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day, a sustained spike in high blood pressure can cause heart damage and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death of the United States, reports the CDC.

This program educates, motivates and equips participants with the information and skills to actively monitor their blood pressure on a regular basis. In this program, participants work together with Healthy Heart Ambassadors to show their heart some love and reach the following goals:

  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Better blood pressure management
  • Increased awareness of triggers that elevate blood pressure
  • Enhanced knowledge to develop healthier eating habits

To learn more about this program, please click here or contact Program Coordinator, Bridget Carroll at (910) 251-9622 (ext. 273) or

Healthy Weight & Your Child

Given the growing childhood obesity epidemic in America, parents may want to sign up for this course STAT. The CDC reports that “childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health.” The percentage of obese children and adolescents has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to the CDC.

This 15-week course provides parents with the guidance and tools to instill healthy-eating and other healthy lifestyle habits in their children. More importantly, parents will gain numerous tips and lessons on how to make raising healthy, happy, active children a fun endeavor for all involved – children and parents. Parents will also get to meet and discuss their challenges with other parents aiming to help their children establish a healthy diet and lifestyle.

This program requires families to attend an information session or contact the YMCA to see if their children qualify. To learn more about this program, please click here or contact the Program Coordinator, Bridget Carroll at (910) 251-9622 (ext. 273) or

Enhance Fitness

The YMCA’s Enhance Fitness program is tailored for older adults of all fitness levels to increase stamina, vigor, and strength along with participants’ happiness and social well-being.

There more incentives to join the Enhance Fitness program. According to the YMCA, its research indicated that health costs for participants in the program decreased by $1,000. The CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Administration on Aging and the National Council on Aging have nationally recognized YMCA’s Enhance Fitness program as a safe and effective physical activity program for older adults.

To learn more about this program, please click here or contact Jane Klippel, YMCA Midtown Branch Director at (910) 769-6800 or

Moving for Better Balance

This 12-week course, designed for the elderly or those with impaired physical mobility due to chronic illness, gently gets participants moving and grooving again to repair alignment and balance in a supportive environment.

A professional instructor will coach and guide participants through slow, therapeutic Tai Chi movements to condition and restore participants’ strength, balance, flexibility and mobility.

To learn more about this program, please click here or contact Program Coordinator, Bridget Carroll at (910) 251-9622 (ext. 273) or

Livestrong® at the YMCA

The Y and LIVESTRONG have joined together to create Livestrong at the YMCA, a free health and wellness program designed to help adult cancer survivors reclaim their health. Participants work with Y staff to safely achieve their wellness goals and develop supportive relationships with one another during this 12-week program.

To learn more about this program, please click here or contact the Program Coordinator Lori Campbell at (910) 251-9622 (ext. 225) or

Pedal for Parkinson’s

Pedaling a bicycle may change the life of someone with Parkinson’s disease. Research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic showed a 35% reduction in symptoms by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace—optimally, 80-90 revolutions per minute. Although fast pedaling is not a cure for Parkinson’s disease, there is compelling evidence which shows that it makes a real difference in many who try it.

To learn more about this program, please click here or contact the Program Coordinator Jane Klippel at (910) 769-6800 (ext. 269) or


Geri-Fit is an evidence-based program recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services. This group strength training exercise program is ideal for all ages and fitness levels. The Geri-Fit exercise program incorporates seated stretching, stability and balance training as well as gait exercises. Geri-Fit decreases the chances of falls, increases functional capacity, helps rebuild strength that’s been lost through the aging process, and helps ease arthritic pain that is associated with aging bodies.

This class is offered at the Nir Family YMCA in partnership with the New Hanover County Senior Center. To learn more about this program, please click here.

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