Air Force Diabetes Prevention Program Showing Results

A program developed at the University of Pittsburg and piloted at seven U.S. Air Force bases is now being offered to all Air Force personnel. The Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) program targets those at risk for diabetes, especially pre-diabetics, and teaches lifestyle changes that can delay or even prevent diabetes from occurring.

"I wish I knew this 30 years ago," is a common response from Air Force veterans who also receive the education. With one in three Americans at risk for diabetes, the program seems especially important to today's Air Force.

The 12-week GLB program has expanded to a full year.

The GLB program was originally twelve weeks long, focusing on making those being taught the importance of making changes for the long haul. Now the program is a full year along, adding in lifestyle coaching and encouragement after that initial 12 weeks. Face-to-face meetings and weekly assignments, along with group support, are critical to the program's success.

"Continuing education and support after the initial intervention is integral to preventing relapse and solidify behaviors," said Nina Watson, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and current certified diabetes educator.

Many members of the military, particularly younger ones, assume that because they can pass their physical requirements tests, they are not at risk for diabetes. The common misconception that diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar or not being healthy weighs heavily in this assumption. Breaking that belief and showing that anyone, at any time, may be diabetic despite their apparent good health is an important part of convincing young airmen that the lifestyle choices they are making now may have very adverse effects later on.

The Diabetes COE program of the Air Force is gaining popularity as it becomes more and more well-known throughout the armed services branch.

Source: MedicalXpress.com

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