Jeanette Chenoweth, a behavioral health assessor for Tanner Health System, knew several people in her family had diabetes.
What Chenoweth didn’t realize was that her family history, combined with other health factors, put her at higher risk for developing the chronic condition. So when she attended Tanner’s annual health and wellness screening for employees, it was an eye-opening experience. Staff at the screening checked her blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, weight and more.
“I didn’t like my numbers one bit,” she said matter-of-factly. “My glucose came back as borderline diabetic. My cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight were also higher than I — and my doctors — liked. To me, it was a death sentence.”
A future filled with insulin shots and constant doctor’s appointments wasn’t an option to Chenoweth. So, she got to work. Her first step was signing up for the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which is offered by Tanner’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative.
The evidence-based program, created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gives participants the resources they need to reduce their risk of developing full-blown diabetes. Over the course of a year, participants meet with a certified instructor to better understand what diabetes is and what they can do to live healthier.
“I’ve learned that a lot of the things I thought I was doing right were actually unhealthy for me,” Chenoweth admitted. “I see a lot of patients each day, so I would skip lunch, thinking I wouldn’t gain any weight if I didn’t eat. I wouldn’t even make time to get up from my desk between appointments.”
Now she understands that simple things can have a positive impact on her health.
“I pack a healthy lunch and keep healthy snacks, like nuts, fruits and vegetables, at my desk. I get up throughout the day. I’ll even go out of my way to walk to a bathroom that’s farther away just to get a little more exercise in my day,” said Chenoweth.
DPP classes cover many topics, from diabetes education to how to read food labels and increase physical activity, so that participants walk out of the final session empowered with the tools they need to stay healthy. One of Chenoweth’s favorite aspects of the class, however, wasn’t just the education component.
“Being with like-minded people was really helpful,” said Chenoweth. “We were all facing the same struggles and learning the same thing. We could lean on each other and encourage one another.”
The program, people and education came together to help her get — and stay — healthy.
“It’s been a year and I haven’t gone back to my old, unhealthy habits,” said Chenoweth. “I’m proud of how far I’ve come. My numbers at this year’s wellness exam were much better – mostly A’s and B’s instead of last year’s D’s and F’s.”
She is committed to staying on her journey to get healthy and live well. She knew that to be successful, she needed to start from the inside out. Now that she has mastered the basics and has a better understanding of her health, she’s ready to focus on other aspects of her health and is excited to have Tanner as a partner along the way.
“The Diabetes Prevention Program has really been great for me,” said Chenoweth. “I highly recommend it to anyone who’s ready to make a change and improve their health.”
Learn about your pre-diabetes risk by taking a free online quiz, or register for an upcoming Diabetes Prevention Program near you. These programs are free and open to the public. Class size is limited, so register early.