Potomac Valley Hospital diabetes prevention program earns recognition from CDC

Valerie Starcher, diabetes educator at WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital, and Brenna Earnest, diabetes education and prevention coordinator, celebrate recognition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

KEYSER, W.Va. — The WVU Medicine Potomac Valley Hospital diabetes prevention program has been awarded continued full recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This was the first diabetes prevention program to be fully recognized by the CDC in the state of West Virginia.

Prediabetes, defined as a condition in which the fasting blood glucose is elevated (100-125) but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes, is a growing threat. Approximately 1 in 3 adults has prediabetes and 90% of them are not aware that they are at high risk. In attempt to help improve the health of the individuals in the community, Potomac Valley Hospital adopted the Group Lifestyle Balance  Program, a diabetes prevention program.

Primary care providers and lifestyle intervention coaches work together to identify, screen and educate those at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The GLB Program consists of 22 sessions held over a period of 12 months aimed at reaching two main goals — weight loss and physical activity.

“Since the beginning of the program, I have seen many patients increase their physical activity. Increases in total movement, including steps taken and physical activity, help prevent diabetes and contribute to healthy weight loss. I’ve noticed that our group participants enjoy the group sessions and camaraderie with each other,” said Diabetes Education and Prevention Coordinator Brenna Earnest.

Since the inception of the Diabetes Prevention Program at PVH in 2012, participants have seen many successes. The program sponsors a weight loss program called the “biggest loser.” The challenge winner lost 72 pounds over the course of a single year. From the beginning of January 2017 to the end of December 2018, there were 129 individuals who experienced a 4.7% average weight loss and had increased their weekly physical activity.

Potomac Valley Hospital has four GLB coaches conducting various programs throughout Mineral County: Tricia Barbarito, Ellen Barnard, Valerie Starcher and Earnest.

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