Participant Stories

Diabetes Prevention Program Helps Keep Kathy Jacobson at Prediabetic Status


Kathy Jacobson says she has witnessed the horrors of diabetes. She lost her 62-year-old mother to the disease, and her brother was the same age when he passed away. “My brother had a lot of foot neuropathy, and other complications. I’ve been prediabetic for a while, and it was time to do something to prevent the same outcome for myself.”

A new focus on health

Kathy Jacobson Diabetes Prevention Program participantAt age 68, Kathy has already beaten the odds. Admittedly overweight her whole life, she now weighs 45 pounds less than her lowest lifetime weight, and credits self-control, exercise and Juniper’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) for the win. “Dieting has always been something I’ve done, but now that I’m retired, I’ve had time to focus on getting healthy. I’m planning to be around for quite a few years. I want to have an Independent active life.”

The Diabetes Prevention Program is an evidence-based program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Class participants meet for one hour a week for sixteen weeks, followed by monthly meetings for the next six months. Each class includes a new topic on how to become healthier. In the class, Kathy learned how to:

  • Lose body weight
  • Increase physical activity
  • Eat heathier
  • Use practical strategies for staying motivated
  • Manage stress, solve problems, and avoid negative thoughts
  • Prevent or delay the onset of diabetes

The class is for anyone who is motivated to lose weight and live a healthier life but it takes a significant commitment to the program. Kathy was committed, as evidenced by staying with it during the COVID-19 pandemic and going back and forth between in-person and Zoom classes. Since peer support is valuable within the program, meetings were sometime held outside, seated at socially distanced picnic tables, where conversations could take place.

Learning new information and new practices

Kathy took the DPP class at VINE Faith in Action, a community center in Mankato, MN, where she also took fitness classes and met a circle of friends who now travel together. “Each week, we stepped through a learning module,” Kathy explained. “One module taught me about good vegetables. Who knew beets are a starchy vegetable? A lot of people don’t realize what they’re eating. I didn’t,” Kathy explains. “We were all given a graph and instructions on how to lose a set percentage of weight.  The goal was the same for everyone. We learned about portion control, and everyone got a step counter. We shared successes and supported each other. I liked that.”

Kathy says DDP was different from any other program she has tried over the years. “We focused on being healthier, eating better and exercising more. We weighed in every week, but weight wasn’t the focus, it was about being healthy. Other programs I’ve done were too forgiving. It was more about how much food you eat, rather than healthy eating, and that didn’t work for me.”

Every day accountability

Feeling better, and continuing to lower her blood glucose level, triglycerides and her overall A1C, Kathy realizes this is a life-long commitment. “My goal is to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by maintaining a pre-diabetic state. The weight I’ve lost, I’ve kept off. I’m at my goal weight, but every day, there is accountability.”

Kathy hopes to motivate others to take the DPP class. “I attended meetings regularly with a notebook that said, ‘Get It Done,’ and I did,” she says. “Don’t let the weight creep up on you. I prioritize this now, and I take time to cook well because I know I’ll benefit from it for the rest of my life.”

Learn more about Juniper’s Diabetes Prevention Program and find a class near you.

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