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UnitedHealth and YMCA Align to Offer New Lifestyle Program

 Even though exercise and weight loss have been shown to reduce a person’s chance of developing type 2 diabetes, healthcare providers have not traditionally reimbursed preventive programs that support a healthy lifestyle. That’s now changing with a landmark collaboration between UnitedHealth group and the YMCA. UnitedHealth Group has signed on to reimburse the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program for adults at risk of developing diabetes. The program is based on the seminal NIH-funded Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), one of the major trials showing that moderate weight loss and lifestyle changes reduce the chances of getting type 2 diabetes. In a supportive group setting, the YMCA’s 16-week program offers training in diet, exercise, and behavior modification. The two primary goals are to reduce body weight by 7% and to participate in regular physical activity (150 minutes per week or more). Currently, UnitedHealth has agreed to cover the DPP-based lifestyle program at seven YMCA branches in Cincinnati and Dayton (Ohio), Indianapolis (Indiana), Minneapolis and St. Paul (Minnesota), and Phoenix (Arizona). The YMCA is active in over 10,000 communities, and UnitedHealth will be expanding its coverage in 2010 and beyond. The YMCA is committed to providing the program affordably to people with or without insurance, and offers financial assistance when necessary. Contact your local YMCA to learn more about the program and to find out what financial assistance is available. --NW

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