Today, our world is all about the #hustle. Between work, family obligations, hobbies, and everyday responsibilities, it’s easy to feel maxed out and stressed. This may seem a normal part of life. But did you know that stress could be impacting your risk for type 2 diabetes and other health conditions? April is Stress Awareness Month – the perfect time to reflect on how you manage stress in your life.
National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle coach Jillian Miner likes to present the topic of stress this way: Imagine that you’re a caveman being chased by a saber tooth tiger. Your survival response kicks in, and your body needs a quick energy boost to support that adrenaline rush. When you experience stress, an easy solution appears to be sugar – a quick fuel to get you through. This is why you tend to crave sugary snacks in stressful moments or turn to “stress eating” to feel better.
A small bit of sugar may not be a problem for a caveman fleeing for his life. Today, however, building a habit of eating highly processed foods that are high in unhealthy sugar, carbs, saturated fats, and excess salt is certainly not beneficial for your health. Your body has to find a way to cope with the stressors thrown your way, and sugary foods are often many people’s go-to. This type of snacking in turn increases your blood sugar levels, your chances of having prediabetes, and your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So, what’s the alternative?
The CDC-led National DPP lifestyle change program recognizes the importance of stress management and how effective tools for managing stress help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the National DPP, you connect with other program participants who can relate to your challenges and lifestyle coaches who can support your health journey.
For Jillian, this means offering her participants a “buffet of stress management options,” suggesting various activities so they can determine which will work for them. Managing your stress doesn’t have to be an unattainable goal, but instead, can be about making time for the activities you already know refresh you. She says her goal is to get participants to “consider stress management in a different way. It’s about finding creative ways to reduce stress.”
Some of Jillian’s top tips for managing stress include the following:
With these approaches in mind, it’s possible to find pauses in your day to minimize stress without turning to food for comfort. Techniques like these and others offered through the National DPP will not only help you feel better emotionally, but they’ll support you in your efforts to live a healthier life overall.
To explain the benefits of the National DPP lifestyle change program, Jillian says, “The lifestyle change program isn’t about just teaching you things – everyone already has an idea of stuff that is healthy. The magic is in making healthy habits. The program helps you make healthier choices on a daily basis.”
With the help of lifestyle coaches like Jillian, some of those choices can lead to better stress management – and ultimately, a healthier lifestyle. Through the program, you can receive support in following through on the habits that help you to reduce stress.
Want to know how you can get involved and learn more about managing stress and reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Visit the CDC-led National DPP lifestyle change program for more information.
Healthy eating – it’s something that everyone knows is important, but it can feel like a chore. Maybe you feel pressure to always make the “right” choice. But what if you got rid of the idea of good foods and bad foods, and instead focused on small changes you could make to your eating habits to improve your health for you and your family? That’s what the lifestyle coaches from CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program encourage – making small changes that can make a big difference to your overall health.
Jack Aponte didn’t consider himself a healthy eater until he participated in the National DPP lifestyle change program and learned a few tips from his lifestyle coach.
“I have an extremely large appetite,” says Jack. “My coach would make suggestions like, instead of these chips, try these chips. It wasn’t invasive. It wasn’t someone standing over you telling you what to do.”
Jack signed up for the program at the urging of his wife after he discovered he was at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The National Diabetes Prevention Program, part of the CDC-led National DPP lifestyle change program, is proven to reduce participants’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than 50%. Through the class, participants work with a trained lifestyle coach and a team of fellow participants who can encourage and challenge each other along the way.
“I grew up eating beautiful Italian meals like pasta and pizza,” Jack continues. “Through the program, I learned I didn’t have to give up all of that. I changed the portions a little bit. My wife and I managed to change a couple of things in the recipes. If you don’t bread it and you don’t fry it, you can still have it.”
This March for National Nutrition Month, lifestyle change coaches are offering these few tips:
If you’re ready to take the next step, learn more about joining the National Diabetes Prevention Program by visiting the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.html.
“With this program, it’s not like you’re on a diet,” concludes Jack. “You just make adjustments to your life that will last a lifetime. And it doesn’t mean you have to end your life – once a week you can still go out and have some ice cream.”
Harvest a Healthy Heart: Recommendations to prevent heart diseases and maintain a strong and healthy heart.
February marks Healthy Heart month, and while farmworkers put their love all year-round harvesting the nation’s crops, they can also love themselves by taking care of their hearts. Heart health is much like farming. It is a combination of planning ahead and continuously working hard to harvest good health. Here are some recommendations about sodium intake, cholesterol levels, alcohol consumption, and physical activity that can help harvesting a strong and healthy heart:
Sodium is a mineral that’s essential for life. It is regulated by your kidneys and helps balance body fluids. It also helps send nerve impulses and affects muscle function. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. Below are the amounts of sodium in teaspoon measures:
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in our bloodstream. It is needed to create body cells, but too much cholesterol can provoke health problems. There are two types of cholesterol: Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol), which is bad, and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol), which is good. Too much of the bad, or not enough of the good, increases the risk cholesterol will slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed blood to the heart and brain. Triglycerides is another important component in cholesterol health. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body, their job is to store excess fat from the food we consume. A high triglyceride level combined with high LDL (bad) cholesterol or low HDL (good) cholesterol is linked with higher risk of heart diseases.
The best way to lower your cholesterol is reduce your intake of saturated fat and trans-fat.
The American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute do not recommend drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. Alcohol can be addictive and can cause or worsen other health problems. Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke among other diseases.
If you already drink, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means:
Regular exercise has favorable effects on reducing many risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For example, exercise promotes weight loss and can help reduce blood pressure. Regular physical activity also favorably affects the body’s ability to control glucose levels in the blood. Moderate exercise on overall cardiovascular risk, when combined with other lifestyle modifications (such as healthy eating habits, moderate alcohol consumption, and low fat and sodium intake, among others), can be dramatically beneficial.
Physical activity is very important. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week is enough to lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure. And you have lots of options, such as:
To learn more about these and other ways to take care of your heart’s health, please visit:
American Heart Association:
This Valentine’s Day, many will say “I love you” with flowers, candy, or a romantic dinner together. But there’s another way you can say “I love you” – by making your health and your heart a priority. Show your family how much you love them by taking steps now to protect your health and your heart so you can spend quality time with them for years to come.
Take time this Valentine’s Day to ask your doctor if you have prediabetes, which puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes. One in three American adults has prediabetes, a condition where a person’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Some populations are more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. For example, 12.5% of Hispanics have diabetes compared to just 7.5% of non-Hispanic whites. Your doctor can tell you for sure whether you have prediabetes or not.
Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can also lead to problems with your heart. Your heart is pretty amazing – with each beat, it pumps oxygen-rich blood to every cell in your body. When something goes wrong with your heart, it’s a big deal for your health. February is American Heart Month, so now is the perfect time to take care of it.
If you find out that you have prediabetes or have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, there is something you can do to take care of your health and your heart. The CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program offers a proven lifestyle change program that can help you learn the skills you need to eat better, become more physically active, and manage stress – all to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the program, you will work in a group with a trained lifestyle coach to learn the skills you need to make lasting changes.
The CDC-recognized lifestyle change program offers a real chance to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The healthy habits that participants learn in the program have also been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke.
This February show your family love in a new way – by putting your health and your heart first. Ask your doctor about prediabetes and learn more about the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Visit cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention today for more information.
January 7, 2021 - The latest issue of NCFH News is now available!
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Have you thought about your resolutions for the new year? This year, put healthy living at the top of your list. You don’t have to make drastic changes. You can incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine to improve your health and reduce your chances for developing type 2 diabetes. Wondering where to begin? Here’s what you can do.
First, learn your risk for type 2 diabetes.
Could you have prediabetes? If so, you’d be 1 in 3 adults who has this serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as other serious health problems. The good news is that you can frequently reverse prediabetes with healthy lifestyle changes.
The first step to a healthier you is to know whether you’re at risk. Take a one-minute risk test at cdc.gov/diabetes/risktest to find out your risk. Your doctor can also run a blood test to see if you have prediabetes.
Then take action.
If you find out that you have prediabetes or have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, start taking steps to improve your health. Make an action plan of specific ways that you can eat healthier and exercise more in the new year. Here are some ideas:
Write down your action plan to help you stay accountable. Make sure your plan is realistic, specific, flexible, and enjoyable!
You don’t have to do it alone.
Making a change isn’t easy, and you don’t have to do it alone. The CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention program offers a lifestyle change program that can help you learn the skills you need to get healthier and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the program, participants work in a group with a trained lifestyle coach to learn how to make long-term changes.
It’s a new year. Get started on your healthier life by finding a CDC lifestyle change program near you here. For more information, visit cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention.
Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? Why not give yourself and your loved ones the gift of good health! By making changes – like eating better and being more physically active – you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and have many more years to make memories with your family.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to other health conditions such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. One in three Americans has prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. You can have prediabetes for years but have no clear symptoms, so it often goes undetected until serious health problems show up.
The good news is that prediabetes can often be reversed by making lifestyle changes. As you plan for the holidays this year, think about how you and your family can fit some healthy habits into your celebrations. For example, you can:
This year, let healthy lifestyle changes bring comfort and joy to your holidays. But don’t stop there – better health is the gift that keeps on giving! The CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program offers classes that can help you learn more about how to get and stay healthier and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the program, participants work in a group with a trained lifestyle coach to learn how to make long-term changes.
For more information, click here and give yourself and your family the gift of good health by preventing type 2 diabetes!
Are you at risk for prediabetes?
You and your family members could have prediabetes and be at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke if youhave any of the following risk factors:
To find out if you are at risk, you can take a 1-minute prediabetes risk test at cdc.gov/diabetes/risktest.
I’m Elvia. I Found a Program to Help Me Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, and Now I’m Sharing it With My Community. It works.
Seeing results firsthand is what motivated Elvia Alcala to become a lifestyle coach for CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program. Elvia speaks from her own personal experience with type 2 diabetes to motivate her family and the Hispanic/Latino community to get healthier. Her mother died as a result of diabetes complications, and several of her family members have diabetes. Both Elvia and her sister have prediabetes, a condition which means your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough for a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health complications like heart disease and stroke.
Participating in the National DPP lifestyle change program was what Elvia needed to improve her health for the long term. The program helped Elvia lower her blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure not only while she was participating, but also long after she’d finished the program. She used to go to the doctor every 3 months, and now she goes every 6.
“The changes that I made have not only benefited me, but also my husband, my family, and the groups we are training,” she says.
Elvia admits that change does not come easily. Determination and being able to prioritize her own health have helped her through her journey. When coaching other people through the program, she tells them that perseverance is key and encourages them to stick to the program, even if they have a bad day.
“I tell them that if they feel stressed and hungry, they can eat fruits or veggies, like I do. I also tell them to try to include some movement in their day, even if it’s dancing in their own backyard. I do Zumba by myself or with my daughter. As a coach, I need to be an example, I have to take care of myself,” Elvia says.
Even as a coach for the program, Elvia is not perfect. She gained 6 pounds earlier this year after a disruption to her normal routine and having to spend more time at home. But since then, she’s lost 3 of those extra pounds.
Elvia says she encourages people to make small changes to their daily routines. She says that she does not like to talk about “diets” but rather “eating better.”
“If you say the word diet, people react negatively,” she says. Instead, for a family gathering, ask people to bring healthier options like salad or vegetables instead of fried chicken and plantains.
Another tip she has shared with some of her participants is to bring their lunch to work.
“One participant liked to stop at a nearby gas station to get tacos and coffee every day,” she says. “Her cholesterol was very high, and I suggested she should bring her lunch to work. She did, and one month later her numbers had gone down.”
This November for National Diabetes Month, Elvia has something she wants everyone at risk for type 2 diabetes to know: “I used to feel trapped, but now I feel free and confident in myself,” she says. “You have to put yourself first. We can’t love others if we don’t love ourselves first. Our families and friends love us, and they want to have us around for a long time.”
You can be like Elvia and reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Learn more about the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program here.
2020 has been an extraordinary year….unexpected, stressful, but also inspirational. How can the year’s events be inspirational you might ask? We have witnessed amazing acts of courage, genuine care and compassion, and a compelling reason, if we needed one, to recommit and double down on our mission to serve agricultural worker families. As critical and essential workers, they are the unseen heroes…we see and benefit from the fruits of their labor, but do not always see behind the produce shelves…the hands, bodies, faces of men, women and children. There is no remote work for them - no Zoom meetings – no guarantees for paid sick leave, or unemployment. In our insular world, we may take for granted the abundance of food, the ample supply of fruits and vegetables…we have not suffered scarcity…we have not gone hungry.
We are thankful for “Our Abundance: Thanks to Their Labor”- also the title of one of my favorite NCFH commemorative artwork pieces. Skillfully painted in 2010 by Kauila Clark, whose spirit may no longer walk among us physically, but who lives within our hearts, the image gently reminds us of the strength, dignity and inspiration reflected in the labor of farmworkers across the country.
This painting adorns my wall…it is inspiring! Kaulia is inspiring! Farmworkers are inspiring!
2020 is extraordinary…it should propel us to do more…to serve better…to find solutions…to work harder…to strengthen our partnerships….to raise awareness…and to raise our voices for those who are silent or unheard. We need to shout our thankfulness and blessings to America’s agricultural workers from the rooftops!
“Gracias a Su Trabajo” soy bendecido.
President & CEO
I’m Olga. When I Wanted to Improve My Health, I Did it With Other People. We Learned From Each Other.
A National Diabetes Month Story
Olga Aguirre has been in good health for most of her life. Because of her family’s history with diabetes, her doctor recommended that she join CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program. Participating in the program gave Olga not only the tools to take care of her health, but also a sense of belonging.
“I was a sales manager at a store and was used to talking to people all the time. Then my husband fell ill, and I stopped working to take care of him. This caused me some anxiety and affected my eating habits,” says Olga. “Being able to join a group like this has been very nice. These are people I can relate to – the coaches and participants are very respectful of other opinions. In this type of class, you learn from each other, and that makes it interesting.”
Participating in the program helped Olga prevent type 2 diabetes, which runs in her family. Olga’s grandmother had severe complications from diabetes, and as a result lost both her feet. This made a big impact in Olga’s life.
“I was very close to my grandmother, and I always saw her struggle to take care of her health,” Olga says. “This program taught me how to read food labels and count calories. I also learned about the importance of physical activity. I try to walk at least 30 minutes every day. I also sweep my porch and help my husband pick up leaves. I always have the radio on, and I dance while I do house chores. Colombian music gets me going.”
Even after finishing the program, Olga has kept in touch with her lifestyle coaches. She says she sometimes sends them photos of the dishes she has prepared and the way she sets her dinner table.
“I show them photos of my coconut water and nopales (prickly pear). I also send photos to my daughters-in-law to teach them how to prepare healthy dishes for their families,” she says.
Olga’s breakfast might be an oatmeal shake with bananas, strawberries, almonds, or blueberries. For lunch, she frequently cooks an omelet with green peppers, mushrooms, cheese, and sometimes ham. For dinner, Olga and her husband have chicken or fish. In fact, they love fish!
“Sometimes in the afternoon if we are hungry, we have sardines, a boiled egg, or a veggie like a baked potato or a chayote (squash). Other times we have salads and I add olive oil,” she says.
To succeed in the program, Olga encourages participants to trust themselves and follow the program’s directions.
“You must have willpower to take your medicines and stay healthy. Also try to avoid stress, as it does have a big impact on your health.”
This November for National Diabetes Month, Olga has something she wants everyone at risk for type 2 diabetes to know: “If you join the lifestyle change program, make sure you stick to the plan and follow what you learn in class and your doctor’s instructions. It is important to follow the booklets. Each chapter is a lesson.”
You can be like Olga and reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Learn more about the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program here.
The National Center for Farmworker Health
Improving health care access for one of America's most vulnerable populations