YMCA Offers Chronic Disease Prevention Programs

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA has expanded its mission to include chronic disease prevention and management. We are launching several programs to help reduce and manage health needs in our community including diabetes, hypertension, youth obesity, and Parkinson’s Disease.


Diabetes Prevention Program
The Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long class for adults at risk for developing type two diabetes based on glucose levels or a risk factor survey. The program focuses on increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week and a 5-7% weight loss through healthy lifestyle changes.  Self-monitoring food and activity, accountability, education, and group support are the basis of this program.

National Institutes of Health research has shown that programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program reduces the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes by 58% overall and by 71% in people over 60 years of age.


Healthy Weight and Your Child
Healthy Weight and Your Child is a family-based approach to support children ages 7-13 who are in the 95th percentile or higher for weight. The program is designed with the whole family in mind. The program engages the child and adult in nutrition education and physical activity to encourage health habits and provide skills to live a healthier lifestyle long-term.

The Healthy Weight and Your Child’s curriculum is adapted from the most widely disseminated and extensively evaluated child weight management program in the world. The program is effective in reducing a child’s body mass index and waist circumference, reducing sedentary behaviors, increasing physical activity and improving self-esteem.


Blood Pressure Management Program
High blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder than it should with each beat, is especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs and usually lasts a lifetime once it develops.

The simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a period of four months has been shown to lower blood pressure in many people with high blood pressure. This forms the basis for the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program, an evidence-based program that features personalized support as you develop the habit of routinely self-monitoring your blood pressure, tips for maintaining your cardiovascular health, and nutrition education.

Fitness for Parkinson’s Patients

The Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA along with Encore Rehabilitation and Singing River Health System has developed a specialized group fitness class for anyone with Parkinson’s.  The class is developed by healthcare professionals to empower people with Parkinson’s Disease by optimizing their physical function and helping to delay the progression of symptoms.

For more information on these programs, please contact Jodi Ryder, Community Impact Director, Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA, at 228-875-5050 or [email protected]


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