Sharing their health struggles and reporting their progress to fellow classmates helped a Tooele City couple find more energy, lose weight and lower their blood-sugar levels.
Jack and Chantel Cowan enrolled in National Diabetes Prevention Program classes in Tooele County. Jack started the class last October at the Tooele County Health Department while Chantel started last June at Mountain West Medical Center.
“The thing that helps about the classes is that other members are vested in you and you in them,” Jack Cowan said.
“Much of what they teach is common sense,” Chantel Cowan said. “Calories in versus calories out, getting enough sleep so your body can repair itself, increasing your physical activity.”
In addition to the prevention program, the county health department is sponsoring a major prediabetes awareness campaign.
Hillary Bryan, health educator at the county health department, said she has been working on the campaign for the past two months, using ads on billboards, buses, county vehicles, reusable grocery bags, mailers and ads in the newspaper.
“The point of doing such a large awareness campaign is to try to encourage people to find out if they are prediabetic and to enroll in one of the health department’s upcoming classes to prevent Type 2,” Bryan said. “It’s a year-long program that consists of 16 to 18 weekly classes within the first six months, followed by six monthly classes.”
Jack Cowan said he and his wife went to a health fair and while there they had their A1c tested. The A1c test measures the amount of glucose (sugar) level in the blood over two-to-three months.
Anything below 5.7 percent is considered normal, between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes and a level 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates Type 2 diabetes.
Jack Cowan said his A1c was at 6.3 and Chantel Cowan’s was higher. Since going to the classes, his A1c has dropped to 5.7, and Chantel Cowan’s is down to 5.6.
“The first part of the classes you talk about your struggles and people offer suggestions,” Chantel Cowan said. “Then you set some action-related goals — what you want to do and how you plan to achieve those goals. They track your weight and exercise minutes.”
Jack Cowan said the plan includes exercising for 150 minutes a week. His choice for exercise was swimming 10,000 yards a week at Tooele City’s Pratt Aquatic Center. He swims early in the morning five times a week. Chantel Cowan participates in an only exercise program called “Daily Burn.”
“I get up at 5:30 in the morning to go swimming, but now I have more energy during the day than I used to,” Jack Cowan said. “Of course, I’m quite tired by bedtime.”
Chantel Cowan has lost 11 percent of her body weight, and Jack has lost 7 percent of his body weight.
The next class is scheduled to start on April 4 at Mountain West Medical Center.
For more information and to register, people should call Bryan at 435-277-2363 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.