Photo credit: YMCA of WNC, please note this photo was taken prior to March 2020 and COVID-19 precautions.
Buncombe County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) has earned full recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its Minority Diabetes Prevention Program, which is presented by the YMCA of Western North Carolina with support from the Asheville Buncombe Institute for Parity Achievement (ABIPA).
This national designation is a result of key milestones reached during BCHHS’s three-year administration of the North Carolina Minority Diabetes Prevention Program (NCMDPP) in North Carolina Region 2, covering Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Henderson, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, and Yancey counties.
To become a National Diabetes Prevention Program, an organization must prove it can meet CDC standards and effectively deliver a diabetes prevention lifestyle change program.
The Y has partnered with BCHHS and ABIPA since 2018 to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in minority populations.
“The Y is proud to partner with Buncombe County HHS to address the health disparities affecting our community,” said Paul Vest, president and CEO of the YMCA of WNC. “COVID-19’s dramatic impact on black and brown communities, combined with its heightened mortality in people with pre-existing conditions like type 2 diabetes, reinforces how critical this program and partnership is to WNC.”
During this year-long, evidence-based program, participants focus on incremental and measured lifestyle changes with the guidance and support of a CDC-certified coach. The goal is to achieve 5 percent to 7 percent weight loss by the end of the program through healthy eating and physical activity. Classes cover a variety of health and wellness topics, including meal planning, tips for eating healthy away from home, and ways to increase daily activity.
“For me, it’s meant a return to life,” said program graduate Omaria Maldonado. “Even though it’s not easy, the program has helped me in many ways. My son, my husband, and I have lost weight. The fatigue I felt before is gone, and I’ve learned to value, take care of, and love myself and my family.”
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 this year, NC MDPP successfully transitioned from in-person to virtual classes without losing the close-knit group support. Over the next year, all classes will continue to be held online to maintain participant health and safety.
“Effective and evidence-based opportunities for health are extremely important to improving health outcomes in our community,” said Buncombe County Public Health Director Stacie Turpin Saunders. “Positive health changes today can mean better overall health in the future. Congratulations to the program coordinators and all the participants who made the initiative successful through their commitment to health.”
The Region 2 NCMDPP is led by Zo Mpofu, Buncombe County Public Health, and NC MDPP Regional Coordinator Monica Tucker of the YMCA of WNC.
For more information on the Buncombe County Region 2 Minority Diabetes Prevention Program, visit https://ymcawnc.org/mdpp.