This February, Wayne Wallace got a little help keeping his New Year’s resolution.

Wallace, 64, had recently retired when his insurance company called to recommend he join a diabetes prevention program the YMCA of Greater New Orleans was starting.

“It was a time when we all have those New Year’s resolutions in the back of our head — ‘I’m going to start doing stuff to be more healthy. I’m going to eat better, exercise, blah, blah, blah,’ and all the stuff I said I was going to do but never did,” Wallace said.

Wallace’s weight and age placed him within a group at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program combined a series of classes on healthy living and eating with discounted memberships at a local YMCA.

“It was like all the planets aligned for me, and it was the right message at the right time,” Wallace said.

The yearlong program, introduced in New Orleans in January 2013, will begin at the This February, Wayne Wallace got a little help keeping his New Year’s resolution.

Wallace, 64, had recently retired when his insurance company called to recommend he join a diabetes prevention program the YMCA of Greater New Orleans was starting.

“It was a time when we all have those New Year’s resolutions in the back of our head — ‘I’m going to start doing stuff to be more healthy. I’m going to eat better, exercise, blah, blah, blah,’ and all the stuff I said I was going to do but never did,” Wallace said.

Wallace’s weight and age placed him within a group at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program combined a series of classes on healthy living and eating with discounted memberships at a local YMCA.

“It was like all the planets aligned for me, and it was the right message at the right time,” Wallace said.

The yearlong program, introduced in New Orleans in January 2013, will begin at the YMCA of the Capital Area in the greater Baton Rouge area later this fall.

Participants who are 18 or older, have been diagnosed as prediabetic by blood test and are overweight according to the body mass index scale can join, said Kayne Daigle, the program’s regional director. If a blood test is not available, those who have other risk factors, such as race, age or a family history of diabetes can qualify.

Doctors will refer patients to the program, and the YMCA will hold screenings at community centers and churches, Daigle said. Baton Rouge-area residents can also contact the local YMCA to enroll.

Type 2 diabetes, often called adult onset diabetes, can cause heart disease, blindness and kidney failure, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of Louisiana lies within the diabetes belt, a string of counties and parishes throughout the Southeast where residents are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes, the CDC found.

According to the CDC’s studies, one out of every three adults, about 79 million people, had prediabetes in 2010.

While many programs focus on patients already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the YMCA’s courses help an often overlooked group, Daigle said.

“There wasn’t really any resource for prediabetics,” she said. “There’s a lot of diabetics management resources and programs, but there wasn’t really anything for prediabetics.”

Part of the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program, the YMCA program lists two main goals for members: Lose 7 percent of their body weight and increase physical activity by 150 minutes per week. Such programs reduce the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes in adults by 58 percent, according to a National Institutes of Health study.

“This is definitely a group of people who are ready and committed to make a change,” Daigle said. “These people have tried the fad diets and tried the exercise plans and all the good stuff to no avail. They are realizing it’s a behavior change, that they have to start doing some things differently.”

The program begins with an intensive introduction to healthy living. Participants meet an hour a week for 16 weeks, learning what kind of lifestyles they should live. After the first four months, they meet for “monthly maintenance” classes.

Instruction focuses on stress reduction, nutrition, learning to read labels and physical activity.

“It changed the way we prepared food; it changed the way we looked for food,” Wallace said. “It definitely sort of kick started me into exercising more.”

Eight months into the program, Wallace has already reached his weight loss goal. He works out regularly, riding his bicycle around his Gentilly neighborhood and using the home gym he bought years ago and neglected.

The former human resources trainer and speaker plans to get the most out of his 60s and 70s.

“We’re recently retired and we want to kick it around and enjoy life for a while,” he said. in the greater Baton Rouge area later this fall.

Participants who are 18 or older, have been diagnosed as prediabetic by blood test and are overweight according to the body mass index scale can join, said Kayne Daigle, the program’s regional director. If a blood test is not available, those who have other risk factors, such as race, age or a family history of diabetes can qualify.

Doctors will refer patients to the program, and the YMCA will hold screenings at community centers and churches, Daigle said. Baton Rouge-area residents can also contact the local YMCA to enroll.

Type 2 diabetes, often called adult onset diabetes, can cause heart disease, blindness and kidney failure, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of Louisiana lies within the diabetes belt, a string of counties and parishes throughout the Southeast where residents are more likely to have Type 2 diabetes, the CDC found.

According to the CDC’s studies, one out of every three adults, about 79 million people, had prediabetes in 2010.

While many programs focus on patients already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the YMCA’s courses help an often overlooked group, Daigle said.

“There wasn’t really any resource for prediabetics,” she said. “There’s a lot of diabetics management resources and programs, but there wasn’t really anything for prediabetics.”

Part of the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program, the YMCA program lists two main goals for members: Lose 7 percent of their body weight and increase physical activity by 150 minutes per week. Such programs reduce the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes in adults by 58 percent, according to a National Institutes of Health study.

“This is definitely a group of people who are ready and committed to make a change,” Daigle said. “These people have tried the fad diets and tried the exercise plans and all the good stuff to no avail. They are realizing it’s a behavior change, that they have to start doing some things differently.”

The program begins with an intensive introduction to healthy living. Participants meet an hour a week for 16 weeks, learning what kind of lifestyles they should live. After the first four months, they meet for “monthly maintenance” classes.

Instruction focuses on stress reduction, nutrition, learning to read labels and physical activity.

“It changed the way we prepared food; it changed the way we looked for food,” Wallace said. “It definitely sort of kick started me into exercising more.”

Eight months into the program, Wallace has already reached his weight loss goal. He works out regularly, riding his bicycle around his Gentilly neighborhood and using the home gym he bought years ago and neglected.

The former human resources trainer and speaker plans to get the most out of his 60s and 70s.

“We’re recently retired and we want to kick it around and enjoy life for a while,” he said.

Editor’s note: This article was changed on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, to remove a mention of the Capital Area United Way, which is not involved in the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program.