ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke YMCA is sounding the alarm on the growing issue of diabetes in the valley. It's why the YMCA and Carilion are partnering to bring a national diabetes program to our area for the very first time.
It all starts with what we put into our bodies.
"Type two diabetes runs in my family," said Kim Bratic, the communication director at the YMCA. "My great grandfather, my great uncle, my father and grandfather all has diabetes."
Bratic says she's at risk of diabetes. That's part of the reason she's bringing a diabetes prevention program, a first of its type, to our area.
"Life styles have changed a lot on 20 to 50-years," commented Bratic. "We're just not moving as much as we used to."
It's a frightening realization. The Center for Disease Control reports one in every three Americans is prediabetes. And, in Southwest Virginia only 11 percent of people with diabetes know they have it.
But, Dr. Mark Greenawald a diabetes specialist at Carilion, said the biggest indicator is our growing waistline.
"A lot of food that are very inexpensive are calorie dense, which means they have a lot of calories within them for the amount of food you eat," said Greenawald.
Greenawald said it shows in the south as nearly two-thirds of Southwest Virginians are overweight and obese.
"It doesn't mean that you never eat cookies or cake or ice cream," added Greenawald. "But, it means that you understand if you eat a lot of that there's going to be health consequences for you."
Genetics and age are other risk factors too.
Starting January anyone interested in making a healthy life change can take part in the diabetes prevention program at the Roanoke YMCA. It's not so much physical exercise as it is talking and discussing healthy eating with others battling the same cause.
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