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LEAN program aims to address diabetes prevention in region

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The area’s two YMCAs and Augusta Health are partnering together to offer a Lifelong Essentials for Activities and Nutrition (LEAN) program in the spring.

Originally created by the Virginia Alliance of YMCAs, the 12-week program is aimed at diabetes prevention.

It’s a cause big enough to bring Augusta Health, the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA and the Waynesboro YMCA all together.

“It’s showing up far too frequently in this community,” said Josh Cole, executive director of the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA. “The Y needs to be a community leader in combatting it.”

Jeff Fife, the CEO of the Waynesboro Family YMCA, agrees.

“In Waynesboro, we have a little bit of an obesity and diabetes problem,” Fife said. “We wanted to help make a difference in our community. We looked at our neighbors at Staunton and at Augusta Health, and they’re all fighting for the same thing; to make people healthier and happier. We thought it was an excellent opportunity to partner with all three.”

Each LEAN participant will be assigned to a lifestyle coach. Each week’s meeting will feature a lecture and group discussion and a 30-minute fitness activity.

“It’s especially for those who may be at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes or folks who already have diabetes now,” said Wendy Shutty, fitness director at the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA. “We encourage anyone to take part in the program, but specifically it’s geared for those who are at risk or already have diabetes.”

The LEAN partnership will mark the second time that the two YMCAs have pooled resources to for the community’s good recently. Both the Waynesboro Y and Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA have been active in Creative Collaborative Coalition for Childcare (C4).

“We are so excited with the opportunity with the Staunton YMCA,” Fife said. “We’ve have great success in running C4 in partnership with them and impacting childcare issues in this region with our COVID-related response with schools having to go into a virtual environment. And the hospital has been such a big participant in our C4 activity, it seemed a natural opportunity to pivot into diabetes prevention with these same partners.”

Shutty is hoping to kick off the program in April.

Fife is hoping that it brings community impact.

“We hope ultimately just a complete, total change of life,” Fife said. “It’s a great opportunity to change your life for the better. We want to create lifelong healthy habits.”

For more information, visit www.waynesboroymca.com/lean


augusta free press news
augusta free press news


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