Free diabetes prevention program offered by Health Department

Diabetes insideWESTOVER — Community members are preventing type 2 diabetes together with a Somerset County Diabetes Prevention Program offered by the Somerset Wellness Center, 12302 Somerset Avenue, suite D, in Princess Anne. Guided by a trained lifestyle coach, groups of participants are learning the skills they need to make lasting changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active and managing stress.


People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are 5 to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 3 years if they do not take steps to prevent it.


“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Health Officer Craig Stofko. “The Somerset County Diabetes Prevention Program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”


Participants learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes. Somerset County Diabetes Prevention groups meet once a week for 16 weeks, then once a month for 6 months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.


The Somerset County Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The local program meets at the Somerset Wellness Center in Princess Anne on Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. and is free. A number of local residents have already signed up but more participants are welcome so the new program can be held in other sites within Somerset County.


“I’ve tried so many things before, but without the program I would never have done this on my own,” I have learned so many things through this program that has helped me and taught me the benefits of living and sustaining a healthy lifestyle, “said Somerset County program participant Mona Hotchkin.


The Somerset County Diabetes Prevention Program is based on research that showed that people with prediabetes who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.


Nationwide implementation of the program could save the U.S. health care system $5.7 billion and prevent about 885,000 future cases of type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet, or legs.


“Small changes can add up to a big difference,” added Mr. Stofko. “Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, Somerset County Diabetes Prevention Program participants are making lasting changes together.”


People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:

  • Are 45 years of age or older;
  • Are overweight;
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes;
  • Are physically active fewer than three times per week; or
  • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.


If you think you may be at risk for type 2 diabetes and want to sign up for the program, and live or work in Somerset County, tell your health care provider that you want to be tested for pre-diabetes. Have the health care provider complete the recommendation form, and submit the completed form to Somerset Wellness Center prior to the start of the Diabetes Prevention Program. Take the “Could You Have Pre-Diabetes?” online quiz at If your score shows that you are at high risk for pre-diabetes, talk to your health care provider or call Somerset Wellness Center at 410-621-0075.


If you don’t have a health care provider, call Somerset Wellness Center at 410-621-0075 to see if you qualify for the program.


To find other local Diabetes Prevention Programs, go to To learn more about the program, call Dawn Mills at the Somerset Wellness Center, 410-621-0075 or visit or

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