Participants are being sought for a new National Diabetes Prevention Program coming to Livingston County.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is implementing the year-long program, which is free and will meet at two different locations. To qualify, an individual must be overweight and at high risk for developing diabetes, or be overweight and have been diagnosed by a physician as someone with pre-diabetes. However, a combination of different risk factors such as family history, being overweight or obese, gestational diabetes and inactivity could also put someone at risk, and therefore make them eligible for the program.

A trained lifestyle coach will facilitate the group in learning about various behavior changes over 16 one-hour sessions. It’s a classroom setting and the group will help motivate and encourage each other. Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator Leigh Vogelsong says the program can be a challenge but there has been a lot of success with it. She tells WHMI the program is centered on learning and practicing ways to make modest lifestyle changes to become healthy habits, which takes time. It helps participants adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight.

Vogelsong says the ideal group size is about 15-20 people and group support is really important for the program, which will also examine what habits have led participants to where they are. Vogelsong says there is a large population that might be eligible for the free program. She says there are about 11,000 people with diabetes in Livingston County but more with pre-diabetes as about 1 in 3 have it but aren’t aware.

Two preview sessions are scheduled this Wednesday that Vogelsong says will help determine eligibility and if someone is ready to make a lifestyle change. The first will run from 10am to 11am at First United Methodist on Bower Street in Howell. The second session is scheduled from 2 to 3pm at the Hamburg Senior Center on Merrill Road. So long as there are enough participants, the program will start the following week at the same time and in the same location.

To register for NDPP or learn more about the program, please call Leigh Vogelsong at 517-545-5245 and leave a message or visit and select classes and events. That link is provided. (JM)