Viewpoint: Way to beat those pandemic pounds 



By Dora Anne Mills 

 

When I open up social media these days, I often see references to “pandemic pounds” and “quarantine couch calories” among photos of banana bread and homemade mac and cheese. They reassure me that I’m not the only one struggling to eat healthy and exercise safely these last few months.  

The good news is that just as COVID-19 has reshaped our lives, so too has it reshaped the Diabetes Prevention Program offered by MaineHealth. The program has pivoted from offering it only in person to now offering it virtually. And it’s free.  

Designed by the U.S. CDC, the Diabetes Prevention Program helps anyone at risk for diabetes, or who just wants to be healthier, to lower their chance of developing type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems, like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer or stroke. If you are among the one-third of Americans with prediabetes or are at risk for diabetes (e.g. overweight, obese, have a family history of diabetes)this program will help you significantly reduce your risk and reverse prediabetes. (This class is not designed for people who already have type 2 diabetes).  

The goals of the program are to lose 57 percent body weight, which is enough to usually reverse prediabetesand to help you maintain healthy eating and physical activity. Participants most often see reductions in blood pressure and many other non-scale victories.  

Classes meet once weekly for the first four months, then once every other week to once monthly for the rest of the year.  

Classes are about one hour in length and are led by an instructor here in Maine or New Hampshire who habeen trained by the U.S. CDC and who serves as a coach. Classes are fun and informative no matter what your knowledge level is. How do I know? I participated this last year in MaineHealth’s Diabetes Prevention Program and loved it. 

For those who have been in isolation, participants engage with each other and form a supportive group – a safe way to beat the isolation blues.   

New classes are being started on a rolling basis. With the fall upon us, this is a great time to register. And did I mention that the classes are free? Yes, this is one of many ways MaineHealth is living up to our mission of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America. 

Want to learn more? Call (207661-7294 to chat with our team or email [email protected]. You can also look at available classes and register directly at mhprevention.coursestorm.com/course/diabetes-prevention-program-live-online. For more information, visit mainehealth.org/services/endocrinology-diabetes/diabetes-prevention-program. 

As we move into the fall with the continuing pandemic, MaineHealth’s Diabetes Prevention Program can help you beat the pandemic blues as well as the pandemic pounds.  

 

Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP, is the chief health improvement officer for MaineHealth.  

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