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Mary Komro has been more concerned about being overweight and carrying with her a strong family history of diabetes as she has grown older.

At age 56, the Holmen woman decided it was time to make changes in her life. She didn’t want to die like her mother from complications of diabetes.

Two months ago, Komro joined the La Crosse Area Family YMCA’s new community-based diabetes prevention initiative aimed at reducing the incidence of the chronic disease.

The initiative is a group-based lifestyle intervention program designed especially for people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are five to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to  people without pre-diabetes.

“The class has been great for me,” Komro said. “We learn a lot in class, and we motivate each other and are supportive of one another.”

Komro takes the Thursday night class in Holmen.

More than 60 people are taking the class at five locations in  Holmen, Onalaska and La Crosse, said Sarah Moxness, the diabetes program coordinator. The first classes in the 16-week session started April 18.

“We have covered topics ranging from healthy eating to taking charge of what’s around you,” Moxness said.

“The success of the program is based on accountability and group support,” she said. “We have a weekly weigh-in and collect food journals.  The class opens every week by discussing participant successes and barriers experienced the prior week.  The class ends every week with goal setting.”

The YMCA is now recruiting for late summer and fall classes. 

Komro said she watches her calories and fat grams and has given up many sweets.

“I snacked a lot and was a big dessert eater,” Komro said. “That has changed. I’m just watching more of what I eat.”

She said she is walking more and taking a zumba class at the Y. “I like to try jogging and start biking,” Komro said.

Moxness said a person with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent with lifestyle changes and modest weight reduction.

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