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Program aims to educate on diabetes prevention

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Family history plays a huge role in the types of diseases and ailments that can plague us. In northern Michigan the number of people who have type 2 diabetes is little bit above the national average. Physical activity and eating the right foods can help prevent this.

Family history plays a huge role in the types of diseases and ailments that can plague us. Munson Medical Center diabetes staff say in northern Michigan, the number of people who have type 2 diabetes is little bit above the national average. Physical activity and eating the right foods can help prevent this.

Rob Ford from Elk Rapids is conscious about his eating habits. Every time he opens his fridge it's something he thinks about. He also makes sure walking is a part of his daily routine.

"There have been times in my life when I lost a bunch of weight and gained it back," says Ford.

Weight has been a struggle for Ford but a few years ago it became something he starting taking more seriously.

"My sister passed away about six years ago. That was a bit of a wake up call," says Ford.

It was a wake up call that's always haunted Ford. His sister died from diabetic complications. The strong family history of diabetes also impacts Ford's two brothers and his dad. So far, he's the only one who hasn't been diagnosed.

"Preventing it from happening has been up and down. Lately, I have tried very hard," says Ford.

Last March he become part of a diabetic group through Munson Medical Center called, "The Lifestyle Change Program."

"Each week we talked about something specific. Whether it was diet or portion size and keeping active. The goal of the program was to lose 7% of your body weight and 150 minutes of activity a week," says Ford.

"The lifestyle change program is a one year program. It's based on the National Diabetes Program research that shows lifestyle changes will delay diabetes," says diabetes educator and registered nurse with Munson Medical Center, Elaine Lober.

Lober says the program coaches patients with developing healthy skills to avoid diabetes and then maintaining those skills later in life.

"Diabetes can be serious if not controlled. Controlled people can live norma lifestylesl. This is all about preventing or delaying diabetes, delaying the side effects including the number one heart disease, eye problems, circulation problems. We want people to live healthy," says Lober.

The program focuses on two main components with living healthy: weight loss and eating habits.

"One of the modules we look at is eat less food, eat it less often or choose lower fat options. So, the choices to be made and to make small changes," says Lober.

"My strongest advice would be to talk to your doctor. You're not going to do it alone. It's so much easier to do it with a group and professional advice," says Ford.

Munson currently offers this program for free. Medicare will be covering this program in 2018 and Priority Health does cover the cost as well. For more information click here.

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