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National Diabetes Month

Did you know almost one million people in Georgia have a diagnosis of diabetes? And more than 230,000 people have diabetes but don’t know it.  The prevalence of diabetes in Georgia has increased by almost 20% since 2006, when 9.7% of adults had the disease, compared to 11.4% in 2016.  Additionally, there are more than two million Georgians who have pre-diabetes, which is a condition that can be prevented from becoming full diabetes through weight loss, increased physical activity, and better nutrition. “A significant part of our population falls into the risk category for developing prediabetes,” says LaTrice Johnson, Nutrition Services Director, for the West Central Health District.

“If we can teach our residents how to make certain lifestyle changes, that can have a major impact on their health and lower the number of people who are now at risk.”  

What are Prediabetes and Diabetes? 

Prediabetes means your blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal—but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. But it can often be reversed.

Diabetes affects the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin, which helps regulate the glucose level in the blood.  One of three situations occurs: the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin to go throughout the body, the body rejects the insulin that is produced, or does not produce any insulin at all.  Type 2 diabetes is when your body cannot properly use insulin. You can get type 2 diabetes at any age, but you are at higher risk if you are older, overweight, have a family history of diabetes, are not physically active, or are a woman who had gestational diabetes.

The West Central Health District offers a free CDC-recognized lifestyle change program which is one of the most effective ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. Losing weight, becoming more active, and cooking more nutritious everyday meals are part of the program.  All of these can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.  The next class will begin in January and is open to anyone who is 18 years old or older and does not have diabetes.

Visit to sign up. Each class is one hour and will meet at 2100 Comer Avenue in Columbus. Classes are held once a week for six months, then once a month for six additional months.  Classes are limited to 12 participants, so register soon!    

Take control of your health and learn how lifestyle changes can help you prevent diabetes and improve your life. For more information, contact VaKarriah Burke at [email protected].