By Rita La Rosa Loud, B.S. 

Did you know that more than one in three American adults are pre-diabetic? That is, an astounding 98 million people, or 38% of Americans, have blood-sugar issues. Eight out of 10 being asymptomatic, they don’t realize they have it!

What is the big deal? Pre-diabetes is a serious problem not to be taken lightly or ignored. Higher-than-normal blood glucose levels can lead to Type 2 diabetes, a devastating health condition associated with neuropathy, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and other life-threatening medical complications. Likewise, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) flies under the radar in adults over 65 and can result in cognitive decline and chronic illnesses.

Happily, there is a practical solution. Pre-diabetes is proven to be preventable, can be delayed, or more importantly, reversible with regular resistance training and a sensible nutrition plan that includes eating higher amounts of protein foods – in other words, with a healthy diet and a positive change in behaviors and lifestyle.

Before disclosing our exercise and nutrition study results, here are a few risk factors for pre-diabetes and ways to manage this condition.

Risk factors of pre-diabetes

Overweight individuals

Mature adults aged 45 and older

Family history, parent, or sibling with Type 2 diabetes

Physically inactive 4-5 days per week

Gestational diabetes during pregnancy

Birthed a child weighing more than 9 pounds

Certain race/ethnicities.

Blood-sugar levels rise as we age, must be managed effectively, and regularly monitored.

Management of pre-diabetes

Check blood-sugar levels with a glucometer or by continuous glucose monitoring (CGM).

Check blood-sugar before meals, especially at bedtime.

Request physician or healthcare provider to monitor hemoglobin A1C blood sugar levels.

The Westcott Study. As a result of Westcott’s 24-week exercise and nutrition study, older adults and senior participants made healthy and lasting lifestyle changes resulting in improved HbA1c and other health parameters. This six-month weight-loss study consisted of resistance training, cardiovascular, and flexibility exercise, plus a healthy nutrition plan of moderate calorie consumption that included supplemental protein. The subjects in our study showed significant improvement in several areas: body weight, body composition, waist/hip ratio, resting blood pressure, and blood sugar (HbA1c) readings.

Consistent with other proven research, our results showed those with higher levels of HbA1c, especially those with atypical glucose metabolism, responded favorably to the progressive resistance training. I should note, the majority of HbA1c progress, coupled with the exercise/nutrition piece, presented itself during the first three months of the study.

Free informational meeting. Embark on a healthy lifestyle at Quincy College’s Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. Center for Health and Fitness.Consider our comprehensive resistance, endurance, and flexibility group fitness program. To learn about The Westcott Exercise and Nutrition Studyprotocol, attend a free informational meeting with Director Rita La Rosa Loud and Michelle Pearson, M.S. RD, on Tuesday, June 18, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., by calling 617-405-5978. Please arrive at 5:15 p.m. at the fitness center located at Presidents Place (lower level), 1250 Hancock St. Staff will escort attendees to the meeting, where you will receive program fees and a registration form. Street parking and a parking garage are available.

About the Author: Rita La Rosa Loud holds a B.S. in Exercise Physiology with additional education in Sports Medicine and Athletic Training. She is NASM Certified and has been actively involved in the fitness industry for more than 35 years. She is also an author and writes  

fitness-related articles for various publications. Currently, she is a fitness researcher and directs the Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. Center for Health and Fitness at Quincy College. She can be reached at 617-405-5978.