Innovative Diabetes Prevention Program Available for Free to Overweight Older Adults With Prediabetes in Metro Atlanta

Sep 28, 2011, 08:00 ET from Medicare Diabetes Screening Project


Medicare Diabetes Screening Project, Metro Atlanta YMCA and Atlanta Regional Commission team up to provide older adults with a game plan to prevent diabetes

Proven program could save Medicare $7 billion or more, according to recent research

ATLANTA, Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Medicare Diabetes Screening Project (MDSP) in collaboration with the Atlanta Regional Commission's Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and the Metro Atlanta YMCA today launched a first in the nation diabetes scholarship to enroll adults 65 or older with prediabetes who are overweight in the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program. In this Atlanta-based partnership, the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is available free of charge to 200 Atlanta-area residents 65 or older who have prediabetes and who are overweight.

The National Institutes of Health Diabetes Prevention Program research has shown that programs that help individuals lose a moderate amount of weight and increase their physical activity can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 71 percent among older adults. In Georgia, approximately 794,000 older adults, or 72 percent of those 65 or older, have diabetes or prediabetes.

"It's been shown that diabetes prevention is proven and possible," said Kristin McEwen of the Metro Atlanta YMCA. "We know that losing weight and increasing physical activity is a challenge, but the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program has been proven effective. We are thrilled that scholarships are now available in the Atlanta area for older adults with prediabetes to take advantage of the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program."

In this Atlanta-based initiative, locally-known as the Get a Jump on Diabetes campaign, Medicare-aged residents with a diagnosis of prediabetes and who are overweight are eligible to participate in the program at Metro Atlanta YMCAs at no cost, thanks to scholarships provided by Novo Nordisk. In a classroom setting, a trained lifestyle coach helps older adults learn about improved eating habits, ways to increase physical activity and other changes that can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Among the Medicare population age 65 or older living in Atlanta, it is estimated that more than 30,000 have undiagnosed diabetes and more than 80,000 have prediabetes. Adults 65 or older should ask their doctors to be screened for diabetes to determine if they are at risk. Medicare covers free annual diabetes screenings with no co-pay and no deductible for those at risk.

"This disease is personal for me because my mom, aunt and I all have diabetes," said Former Atlanta Hawks forward and Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, who is a spokesperson for the Get a Jump on Diabetes campaign. "I've teamed up with the MDSP for the second year in a row to spread the word to older adults in Atlanta about the importance of screening and the need to make lifestyle changes in order to prevent diabetes or delay its onset."

"The good news is that diabetes can often be prevented, and those found to have it can take simple steps to control it," said Maurice Madden, Georgia Director of the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project. "The first step is to ask a health care provider and find out if you are at risk."

For more information or to enroll in the program through the Get a Jump on Diabetes campaign, please contact: Linda Vaughn, Metro Atlanta YMCA, by phone (404) 527-7690 or email You may also visit to learn more.

About Medicare Diabetes Screening Project
The Medicare Diabetes Screening Project (MDSP) in Atlanta is a community-based effort to reach and motivate older adults who have undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes. MDSP encourages older adults to see their doctors or other health care providers, and take advantage of the free diabetes screening benefits offered by Medicare. The MDSP is co-chaired nationally by the American Diabetes Association, the Healthcare Leadership Council, and Novo Nordisk Inc.  In the Atlanta area, a coalition of organizations that includes the American Diabetes Association, Healthcare Leadership Council and Novo Nordisk, is working to promote the use of Medicare's benefits for diabetes screenings and the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program. To learn more, visit

About the YMCA
The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn grow and connect. Visit or call 404-588-YMCA (9622).

About Atlanta Regional Commission
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency for the 10-county area including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the City of Atlanta. For 60 years, ARC and its predecessor agencies have helped to focus the region's leadership, attention and resources on key issues of regional consequence. ARC is dedicated to unifying the region's collective resources to prepare the metropolitan area for a prosperous future. It does so through professional planning initiatives, the provision of objective information and the involvement of the community in collaborative partnerships.

SOURCE Medicare Diabetes Screening Project