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What Is the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program?

Natalie Stein
June 9, 2021
Six Tips for Sticking with Your Diabetes Prevention Program

The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle change program that can help participants lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. The 26-lesson program takes a year to complete and can help lower blood sugar, encourage weight loss, and improve overall health.

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Who Can Join a YMCA DPP


You might qualify to participate in a DPP if you are at high risk for diabetes based on one of the following. If you are at least 18 years old, are overweight or obese, and do not have type 1 or 2 diabetes, the CDC eligibility criteria state that you may be eligible based on:

  • Having a diagnosis of prediabetes based on a blood sugar test such as fasting blood glucose, glycated hemoglobin (A1C), or oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).
  • Having had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.
  • Having a high score on the Diabetes Risk Test.

If you are eligible to participate in a DPP, it may be available as a covered benefit through your health insurance. Otherwise, there may be a charge for you to participate.

How the YMCA DPP Works


The YMCA DPP is a year-long program that includes a standard CDC-approved curriculum. As part of the DPP, participants set program goals of losing 5 to 7% of their initial body weight and achieving at least 150 minutes per week of physical activity. Throughout the program, you can learn how to make healthier choices at home, at the supermarket, at restaurants, and on the road, as well as strategies for staying active and staying motivated.

The YMCA DPP delivers the curriculum in a series of classroom-based sessions. You will have a Lifestyle Coach to present the each lesson and guide you through the program. You can also track physical activity, weight, and what you eat, and discuss your logs at the meetings.

Does the YMCA Offer the Best DPP Program for Me?


The CDC DPRP Registry of DPP providers lists over 150 YMCA locations offering at least 1 DPP, with more than 100 of these achieving full or partial recognition status from the CDC. That means they meet certain standards and can help you lose weight and/or lower diabetes risk. 

With its long history and trust in the community, your local DPP may be the best choice for many people. It may even be best for you! However, a virtual DPP can make sense for some people, possibly even you. A virtual DPP may be worth considering if any of the following are true.

  • You do not have a local DPP because no in-person provider is nearby.
  • You cannot or do not want to attend pre scheduled sessions due to challenges such as transportation, childcare, or scheduling conflicts.
  • You believe that you would feel greater accountability if you received instant feedback each time you logged your meals and physical activity on your smartphone with a DPP app.
  • You would rather complete the DPP on your time via your smartphone.
  • You prefer not to talk about your health in a group setting.

If you have prediabetes or risk factors for type 2 diabetes, participating in a DPP can help with lifestyle changes to lower your risk of developing diabetes. You can learn the CDC curriculum while establishing healthy habits to last for years.

Some people may enjoy an in-person DPP because they enjoy the face-to-face interaction with their lifestyle coach and other participants in the program. For these people, a local YMCA that offers a DPP can be a good option. 

Other people may have trouble finding a program near them, or they may have trouble attending in-person meetings due to reasons such as scheduling conflicts or childcare needs. For these people, people who may want unlimited coaching and coaching during off-hours and weekends, and people who may feel reluctant talking about their personal health journey to others, a digital DPP may be more appropriate.

A DPP may be available to you at no cost if your health insurer includes it as a covered benefit. If you feel that an in-person DPP may be the right choice for you, you may want to check to see if your local YMCA offers one and if it is a covered benefit. If a digital DPP such as Lark DPP sounds like it fits your lifestyle better, click or tap here to find out if you may be eligible to join. You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to starting your journey to manage prediabetes and improve health.

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Written by Natalie Stein on June 9, 2021
Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health
Six Tips for Sticking with Your Diabetes Prevention Program
What Is the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program?