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YMCA seeking participants for free in-person diabetes management program
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, a WellPoint affiliated Health Plan, celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012, and as the state’s largest and longest-standing insurer, serves more than 2.4 million members, offering a variety of healthcare plans, including medical, dental, life and specialty programs. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield Healthcare Plan of Georgia, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association®. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is available at

YMCAs throughout metro Atlanta are seeking participants in a Type 2 diabetes management program developed at Stanford University and shown in studies to help lower blood sugar, reduce emergency room visits and improve communication with caregivers.

Atlanta-area residents with Type 2 diabetes who are 18 or older can register for the program by calling 866-202-1926 for the in-person sessions. The Better Choices, Better Health® -Diabetes workshops are available now.

Better Choices, Better Health® - Diabetes is a series of six in-person sessions that connect trained, peer facilitators with people who have diabetes so that they may share and solve problems together. People within the groups may help each other discover new ways to maintain their independence, enjoy food that’s good for them, manage their blood sugar, start or stay with an exercise routine and communicate more effectively with their doctors, families and friends.

“We developed this program so that each person can customize it to their own needs,” said Kate Lorig, professor emeritus and director of the Stanford Patient Education Research Center. “Better Choices, Better Health® - Diabetes helps each person to reach health goals that are attainable for them and in the process gives them a better quality of life.”

Almost 12 percent of all men 20 years or older, and 11 percent of all women 20 years or older, have diabetes, according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet. Type 2 diabetes occurs most commonly in adults aged 40 or older, and the likelihood of developing it increases with age.

“Type 2 diabetes is also becoming much more common among younger adults,” said Jennifer Rewkowski, Director of Program Management for the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. “We want to make sure people with Type 2 diabetes have the skills and the support to lead the healthiest lives they can. This program may make a difference to people in managing their blood sugar, maintaining their independence and in gaining support in knowing they are not alone.”

The National Council on Aging, YMCA, OASIS and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation are collaborating with Stanford University on a study of these workshops to determine if this community-based program can be implemented successfully and economically on a larger scale. The study is funded by the National Council on Aging through grants from the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation. Workshop participants are not required to be part of the study.

Atlanta workshops are held for 2.5 hours once a week for six weeks at various local venues including YMCA facilities.

“The workshops were designed to work with people’s lifestyles and comfort levels,” said Jay Greenberg, senior vice president, National Council on Aging.

Anyone 18 years or older with Type 2 diabetes can register for a workshop. If you are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia member, you will be asked if you would like to be part of the research study. This workshop is offered as part of a research study conducted by Stanford University. The study is funded by the National Council on Aging. Not all participants in the workshop will qualify for the study, but may take the workshop anyway.