CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Jan. 4, 2002
NOTE TO EDITORS: This news release was originally distributed Dec. 19, 2001.
The REACH program start date has been delayed by one week to allow more time
for people to enroll and be screened. Past REACH program participants may
be available for interviews. Contact Becky Soglin, UI Health Science Relations,
at (319) 335-6660 if you are interested.
Resolving to ward off type 2 diabetes? UI Health Care program can help
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- You might be among the growing number of Americans, at
least 10 million, who are at risk for type 2 diabetes and its complications
such as heart disease and blindness. However, with the new year already under
way, you can resolve -- and take action -- to prevent or delay onset of the
condition by enrolling in a University of Iowa Health Care exercise program
that begins Jan. 15.
The eight-week program, "Reaching Euglycemia and Comprehensive Health"
(REACH), helps 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 and prevent
complications. In addition, the program welcomes people with diabetes risk
factors who are hesitant to start an exercise program because of chronic problems,
such as arthritis. Exercise routines are individualized to each person's needs
and physical condition.
People are at increased risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance, the
precursor of type 2 diabetes, and diabetes if any of the following conditions
apply: having family members with diabetes; being overweight; having high
blood pressure or high cholesterol levels; and being of Native American, African
American or Hispanic descent. In addition, several factors put women at risk:
having diabetes during pregnancy; giving birth to a baby weighing more than
nine pounds; and having polycystic ovarian syndrome (an endocrine condition).
The REACH program 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.
"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.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) findings published last August showed
that improved diet and exercise in combination were significantly more effective
than the use of medication alone in preventing diabetes, especially in the
The study found that people who ate better and exercised more reduced their
risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. The health advantage was even
more impressive for people over the age of 60, who, as a group, reduced their
risk by 71 percent.
Type 2 diabetes is usually adult-onset and causes insulin resistance, in
which the body makes insulin but does not respond well to it. Left untreated
or inadequately controlled, diabetes can cause heart disease, blindness, kidney
failure and infections. Type 2 diabetes affects 8 percent of Americans age
20 and older, and nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population age 60 and older.
The UI's REACH program has been offered seven times since it started in
fall 1999, and participants range in age from their 20s to 60s. A recent class
included "support" people for two participants.
"The support people may not be at risk for diabetes but do everything
the participant does in terms of attending class and doing exercises,"
Barr said. "The support person also agrees to help the participant adopt
those changes and keep up with them for the long term."
Barr emphasized that the REACH program makes every effort to find exercises
that fit into each person's lifestyle so they'll be "willing and able
to keep it up for a lifetime."
"People may have limitations in their ability to walk or move due to
problems such as joint pain, knees problems or back surgery, " Barr said.
"We individualize the exercises so that the participants can be more
active but not aggravate their condition."
In addition to Barr's expertise in physical therapy, REACH staff includes
the expertise of a dietician, a mental health counselor, a diabetes nurse
educator, a physician assistant and a physician. The health care professionals
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
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)
To read about the NIH findings on diet and exercise delay type 2 diabetes,
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 http://www.uihealthcare.com/.