GRAND HAVEN, Mich. -- Health professionals will tell you that diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in the nation. One million Michigan residents struggle with the disease. The scary part is that one third of us don't even know we have it.
That's why Priority Health is partnering with community organizations in offering a program to members to help them avoid developing diabetes.
The program launched locally in 2013 and has grown to serve more than 900 Priority Health members at more than 100 locations across the state.
Ginger Sobel is one of those members. She enrolled in the program last year after she tried unsuccessfully to lose weight. With diabetes running in her family, Sobel knew it was time for change.
"I thought this might be exactly what I’m looking for," she said.
The program Priority Health offers as a preventive benefit is a nationally-recognized lifestyle change program proven to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by roughly 60 percent.
"I love the fact there’s accountability," Sobel said. "There are so many things they educate you on, I’m so grateful for that."
The year-long program consists of weigh-ins and fat gram tracking. It helps Sobel understand food labels, the importance of healthy eating, physical activity, and overall lifestyle change.
Now, Sobel eats more fruits, more vegetables, and less meat.
Kelli Pickett, a diabetes educator at Priority Health, says the program is saving lives.
"I think the debates prevention program is a great way to increase the awareness of diabetes, healthy living, and daily activity," Pickett said.
As for Sobel, she has lost 30 pounds and is feeling great, adding she has a feeling her physician is going to be very pleased.
Priority Health is the only insurance company in Michigan offering the Diabetes Preventative Program as a preventative benefit, Pickett tells FOX 17, but keep in mind that you don't have to be a Priority Health member to participate.
The next Diabetes Prevention Program starts in January. If you want more information or would like to sign up, click here.