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Release: Aug. 30, 2001

UI exercise program for people at risk for type 2 diabetes begins Sept. 18

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- People at risk for type 2 diabetes who want to prevent or delay onset of the condition may enroll in a University of Iowa Health Care exercise program that begins Sept. 18.

The eight-week program, "Reaching Euglycemia and Comprehensive Health" (REACH), is designed to help people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), the precursor of type 2 diabetes, to normalize their blood sugar (reach euglycemia). People with newly developed diabetes may also benefit from the program to prevent the onset of complications.

The REACH program, which began last year, provides counseling, expert advice, exercise evaluation and exercise sessions. Participants attend bi-weekly educational and exercise classes to help them ward off diabetes. The program fee is $205.

People are at increased risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes if any of the following conditions apply: having family members with diabetes; having diabetes during pregnancy; giving birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds; being overweight; having high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels; and being of Native American, African American or Hispanic descent.

Type 2 diabetes is usually adult-onset and causes insulin resistance, in which the body makes insulin but does not respond to it well. Left untreated or inadequately controlled, diabetes can cause complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and infections.

"The most recent research supports the fact that diabetes can be prevented by lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and more exercise, which is the basis of the REACH program," said Rhonda Barr, UI physical therapist and REACH program coordinator.

In addition to Barr, REACH staff includes a dietician, a mental health counselor, a diabetes nurse educator, a physician assistant and a physician. Experts speak on topics such as making wise selections when dining out and how to choose appropriate exercise footwear.

The easiest way to determine if a person has IGT is to have a fasting (before breakfast) blood sugar test. REACH offers a free screening program for IGT and diabetes.

For more information about the free REACH screening, call UI Health Access toll-free at (800) 777-8442 or 384-8442 locally. For more information about enrolling in the eight-week REACH diabetes prevention program, call (319) 356-2663.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at