Syracuse University Libraries is offering extended hours during finals week: Friday, Dec. 15, through Monday, Dec. 18: Bird Library will be open 24 hours a day and Carnegie Library will be open until 11 p.m. The Libraries is also offering…
Action-Based Programs for Diabetes Prevention, Blood Pressure Management Offered to Faculty and Staff
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 38% of all U.S. adults live with prediabetes, the precursor to type 2 diabetes, and nearly half (47%) have hypertension, or high blood pressure.
While these statistics may seem quite high, they are also proof that if you struggle with high blood pressure or prediabetes, you are not alone. The even better news is that there is evidence that enacting simple—but not always easy—changes to your lifestyle can help manage these conditions and prevent them from escalating.
Two programs offered through the Syracuse University Wellness Initiative this fall are designed to help benefits-eligible faculty and staff redefine their health and transform their life: the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program (BPSM), both launching in October. Read on to learn more about these programs and how staff members have benefited from prior participation.
A Holistic Approach to Diabetes Prevention
When Stefania Ianno signed up for the DPP last year, she was intrigued by the program’s yearlong approach. She knew that for her own success, health and wellness needed to be an ongoing lifestyle and not a yo-yo dieting experiment.
“I was compelled to sign up for the DPP because it approaches health from many angles: movement and exercise; food and nutrition; and the mental/emotional aspects of motivation and discipline,” says Ianno, assistant director of development for Syracuse Stage.
The DPP is a small-group program offered in partnership with the YMCA of Central New York. It requires a 12-month commitment with 26 one-hour sessions over the course of the year. Sessions are facilitated by Stephanie Michaels, a YMCA lifestyle coach, and dive deep into the science of diabetes prevention while also offering participants practical, everyday strategies for eating healthier, increasing their physical activity and losing weight.
The program also includes a free YMCA family membership for the first 20 weeks, which can be used at any of six locations across Central New York. “Access to the YMCA was particularly awesome and very motivating—I was able to get on a better schedule of incorporating movement into my weekly activities,” says Ianno.
She found the resources provided, including education on topics she did not previously know much about and tracking mechanisms for food and activity, to be helpful, as well as periodic check-ins with Michaels to provide a touchpoint on her progress.
The upcoming DPP begins Oct. 11 and meets on Tuesdays from noon to 1 p.m. in the Hall of Languages, room 500. The program is for adults who have prediabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, but who do not already have diabetes. There is a personal investment of $200 that is deducted via payroll and eligible for full reimbursement once the participant has met certain attendance criteria and action items.
Staying Ahead of Hypertension
Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording blood pressure at least twice a week may help lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. There is evidence that proper nutrition, particularly reducing sodium, can help lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Participants in the Wellness Initiative’s BPSM, also offered in partnership with the YMCA of Central New York, receive a free blood pressure cuff that they can use at home for twice-weekly readings.
Over four months, they practice home self-monitoring and participate in one-on-one check-ins with Michaels on Microsoft Teams, as well as monthly one-hour seminars on topics like lowering sodium intake, shopping, preparing and cooking food for blood pressure management, and heart-healthy eating.
Derek Pooley, assistant director for student success in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, participated in a prior offering of the BPSM and says the program taught him new information that has been key to managing his diagnosis of high blood pressure.
“The different tips and conversations I had with Stephanie got me thinking about different ways to hydrate, sleep and eat better,” Pooley says. “I didn’t realize how much hydration affects blood pressure, so I drink way more water now than I did before!”
Pooley says he saw his blood pressure decrease over the course of the program and he still uses the blood pressure cuff he received to continue his home self-monitoring. “I would absolutely recommend this program to other faculty and staff members,” he says. “I took my blood pressure three times per week, had a weekly meeting to talk about different methods to lower it and tried the suggestions offered. It was simple and effective.”
The upcoming installment of the BPSM begins Oct. 3 and runs through January. There is a $60 personal investment via payroll deduction, with the opportunity for a full reimbursement upon successful completion of the program.
To learn more about the Diabetes Prevention and Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring programs, including qualifying criteria and full schedules for participation, visit the Wellness Initiative website.