TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Almost 300,000 people suffer from diabetes in Kansas, according to the American Diabetes Association, and almost a quarter of them don’t even know they have it. Midland Care’s 24 for Life diabetic prevention program is trying to decrease these numbers.
Janiece Coss from Ozawkie has been overweight her whole life, and her and her husband’s health has began to deteriorate over the last few years.
“We both have immediate family with Type 2 diabetes, and that were both insulin-dependent towards the end of their lives,” Coss said. “So we look at that and we said, ‘No, we don’t want to go down that path. We need to stop. We need to regroup.'”
They began by joining the 24 for Life program. This 12-month program works as a support group, helping people struggling with pre-diabetes or diabetes, by looking at how to eat healthier, exercise more and what emotions may be causing them to not want to do so.
“It’s really about having a support group of people around you to help you through some of the struggles that we all go through, in terms of what to eat, how we eat, how much we eat and whether we exercise or not, or move and do things to get up and move,” said Dr. David Wensel, Chief Medical Officer for Midland Care.
Wensel went through the program himself, and has since lost 60 pounds.
“That’s what the diabetic prevention program does,” Wensel said. “It helps you really think about and being to start down a path to change your life.”
Since beginning the program in June, Coss has also lost 6% of her weight, and her sugar levels are back to normal.
However, she’s only just begun.
“It’s a journey without end,” Coss said. “Even when I reach my goal weight, and I have all of my numbers in the normal range… it’s a way you have to live.”
The program is currently being offered for free to people living in Shawnee and Lyon County through a grant from the American Diabetes Association.
If you are interested in getting involved, you can see if you qualify by clicking here.