Deonna Sacoco knew she needed to lose weight. After making lifestyle changes that produced results, the 47-year-old National City resident had reached a plateau in her efforts, and wasn't able to find a way to keep going.
When her Sharp Rees-Stealy primary care doctor informed Sacoco that her blood sugar level put her in the range of prediabetes and recommended the medical group's Diabetes Prevention Program, she felt a sense of urgency and told herself, "I have nothing to lose."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 Americans has prediabetes — and 90 percent of those don't know it — which puts them at greater risk for developing Type 2 diabetes if lifestyle changes are not adopted.
The program is free to Sharp Rees-Stealy patients who qualify. Working with a wellness education specialist from Sharp Rees-Stealy's Center for Health Management, Sacoco lost more than 20 pounds and lowered her blood sugar to normal range over a span of 10 months.
"When I look at myself now in the mirror, I love what I see," she says. "I'm more confident, I've become more conscious of what I'm eating and I don't tire easily anymore. I'm very happy."
Sharp Rees-Stealy recently earned Full Recognition for its Diabetes Prevention Program from the CDC, the only medical group in San Diego to receive this designation. Since it began, the program has helped 160 patients lose an average of 5.5 percent of their weight.
Elements of Diabetes Prevention Program
The yearlong program consists of 22 group sessions — led by certified lifestyle coaches — that cover nutrition and physical activity education, and discussion on topics including:
- Barriers to healthy behaviors
- Managing stress
- Improving sleep
The goal for each patient is to lose 5 to 7 percent of body weight and engage in 30 minutes of physical activity, five times a week.
"It's truly humbling to say that Sharp Rees-Stealy is a leader in preventing diabetes in the San Diego community," says Kelly Young, manager of patient education and support for Sharp Rees-Stealy's Center for Health Management. "We are committed to improving the quality of life for our patients."
Sharp Rees-Stealy works to identify these potentially at-risk patients through diligent screenings at doctor visits. The diabetes prevention program receives 80 to 100 referrals a month, and its success is apparent.
"I go for walks with my 12-year-old daughter now and I don't tire easily anymore," Sacoco says.