In the News

Highmark Foundation Awards Grant to Expand YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program

January 14, 2020 at 1:35 PM

The $60,000 grant supports the Y’s efforts to combat Type 2 Diabetes in the Lehigh Valley



[Allentown, January 14, 2020] – In the United States alone, diabetes affects over 30 million people.  Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 84 million people in the U.S. have prediabetes, yet only 10 percent are aware they have the condition. To combat the Diabetes epidemic in the Lehigh Valley, the Greater Valley YMCA launched the Diabetes’s Prevention Program at a single YMCA branch in early 2019. Through support from the Highmark Foundation, the YMCA will expand the Diabetes Prevention Program to more branches of the Greater Valley YMCA in 2020.


The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long, group-based lifestyle program for adults at high-risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The program consists of 25 group sessions in a relaxed classroom setting.  Throughout the program, a trained Lifestyle Coach helps participants learn skills incorporating healthy eating behaviors and increased physical activity into their everyday lives. The goals of the program are 5 to 7 percent weight loss and an increase in physical activity to 150 minutes per week.


“At the Y, we take a community-integrated approach to improving health. We partner to move health care out of the clinic and into the community where people can more easily access the care they need,” said David Fagerstrom, President & CEO of the Greater Valley YMCA. “Currently much of our focus is on prevention programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. The program provides a safe and supportive environment for people to change behaviors and decrease their chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.”


“We are proud to support the Lehigh Valley YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program by providing this grant to help improve the overall quality of life of adults experiencing type 2 diabetes,” said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “Expanding this existing program to include additional YMCA branches greatly improves access, and will benefit so many in the region.”


Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.  Individuals can assess their risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking a simple test at Through this assessment, visitors can also learn how lifestyle choices and family history help determine the ultimate risk for developing the disease. Several factors that could put a person at risk for type 2 diabetes include race, age, weight and activity level. If a person is at risk, a diabetes screening conducted by a physician can confirm a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis.


For more information about the Greater Valley YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, visit






About the Greater Valley YMCA


The Greater Valley YMCA is a volunteer-led, nonprofit, community organization. The Y is committed to strengthening community by positively changing lives every day. At each of our Branches, we concentrate our efforts in three areas: Healthy Living, Youth Development, and Social Responsibility. The Greater Valley YMCA serves the Lehigh Valley and consists of Branches in Allentown, Bethlehem, Catasauqua, Easton, Nazareth, and Pen Argyl. To learn more, support, or join the Y, visit



About the Highmark Foundation

The Highmark Foundation is a 501(c)(3) private, charitable organization dedicated to improving the health, well-being, and quality of life for individuals and communities throughout the areas served by Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates.  We fulfill our mission by awarding high-impact grants to charitable organizations that implement evidence-based programs aimed at improving community health.  Central to the Foundation’s mission is identifying and continuously re-evaluation our region’s prevailing health care needs. By doing so, the Foundation remains at the forefront of those needs, well equipped to pinpoint issues that most urgently need support. For more information, visit


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