Health Watch: CDC Diabetes Prevention Program comes to Fairbanks

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 5:02 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -In this week’s Health Watch, we take a look at an upcoming diabetes prevention program offered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans has prediabetes. This condition is characterized as a period of time before the development of type 2 diabetes in which blood sugar is high but no other symptoms of diabetes are seen.

Individuals with prediabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and excess weight is a key risk factor.

Leslie Shallcross, District Agent with Tanana Valley Cooperative Extension Service will be operating a CDC-monitored disease prevention class to reduce this risk for participants.

“The program arose out of some research that was done that showed that changing your lifestyle, meaning increasing physical activity, eating healthier, and losing some weight helped people avoid or delay the onset of diabetes,” said Shallcross.

This program developed by the CDC is a lifestyle change program in which participants get ideas and support from other participants, along with trained extension lifestyle coaches. According to Shallcross, participants will be encouraged to lose 10 percent of their current weight to reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

“We’re trying to prevent an epidemic, and certainly trying to help people prevent all those risks that come with having diabetes,” said Shallcross.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, participants will not be meeting face to face. The program will be offered via Zoom sessions hosted by Cooperative Extension staff in Sitka, Fairbanks and Mat-Su. Participants will meet weekly for approximately 16 weeks, and at least once monthly following that.

“It’s a long program because it takes a long time to help people lose weight and keep it off, and it takes a long time to change habits, and make sure that those habits stay changed. I always tell people ‘You gotta go through everything you go through in a year to see, how do I respond in this situation? And can I keep my lifestyle healthy?’” said Shallcross.

The program will run at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays beginning March 2 in Sitka, Thursdays starting March 4 in Fairbanks, and Noon on Tuesdays beginning March 17 in Mat-Su. Prior to registering, potential participants are required to contact the program instructors to determine eligibility and to discuss commitment to completing a 12 month program. For more information visit the CDC Diabetes Prevention Program website here. Fairbanks instructor Leslie Shallcross can be contacted at

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