How One Family Worked on Reducing Risks

Maggi Rose is a single mother with two grown children. Her son, 23, is away from home in graduate school, and her daughter, 26, works as an accountant and is engaged to be married later this year.

Maggi herself works as a paralegal at a large law firm. She was recently diagnosed by her health-care provider with prediabetes. She has a family history of Type 2 diabetes: Her mother, who died about three years ago, had had Type 2 diabetes for about five years. Upon her death from a heart attack, however, the physician told Maggi that her mother had likely had Type 2 diabetes for at least 10 years prior to her diagnosis. Many years of uncontrolled high blood glucose, therefore, had likely contributed to her death.


Given her family history, Maggi was eager to be referred to the local diabetes education program for prediabetes counseling. She knows she has gained some “unwanted weight” since her children left home (a gain she had attributed to menopause), and she fears developing diabetes in the future. She’s also concerned about her children’s risks for eventually developing Type 2 diabetes.

Maggi met with the nurse educator and the dietitian to better understand her diagnosis, her risk of future health problems, and the steps she needs to take to lower those risks. She received a variety of tools for managing her prediabetes and improving her health. Maggi and the diabetes educator also drew up the following list of action steps that could benefit Maggi and her children:

• Maggi’s diabetes educator suggested that she look into the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which is a 12-month program for individuals with prediabetes that provides reinforcement regarding the importance of healthy eating, increasing physical activity, reducing stress, and problem solving.

Since Maggi’s employer has a corporate membership for employees at the YMCA, and there’s a facility close to her neighborhood, joining the program seemed very doable.

You can find out whether a Y near you is offering the program by looking on

An overview of the program can be found at

• Maggi’s son is able to use her YMCA membership, as well, and while he currently doesn’t have any risk factors for diabetes other than a family history, he decided to add some regular activity to his routine, both to improve his fitness level and to support his mom. When they talk on the phone, they update each other on how their programs are going.

• Maggi and her daughter both enjoy cooking, and they agreed to seek out recipes for healthy dishes to share with one another.

• Maggi asked her diabetes educator for some written materials on gestational diabetes that she could share with her daughter. Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, and it occurs more often in women with a family history of Type 2 diabetes. While Maggi’s daughter has no immediate plans to have children, Maggi wanted her to know about her risk and also know that maintaining a healthy lifestyle prior to pregnancy may lower the risk for gestational diabetes.

• The three of them (Maggi, her son, and her daughter) decided they would incorporate a 30-minute walk each time at least two of them were together. They all liked the idea of using a walk to renew their personal commitment to exercise and to have time to talk uninterrupted.