Henry Ford Hospital coworkers use dance to lower pre-diabetes risk

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Recently, the government announced it's expanding funding for funding for a national diabetes prevention program. The program aims to save millions of dollars in healthcare and lives. In the meantime, Deena Centofanti shows us how a local program is getting great results.

Some coworkers at Henry Ford spend 30 minutes every day dancing, exercising and hopefully improving their health.

For 52-year-old Irene Strozier, these moves are part of her plan to lose 100 pounds -- and she's well on her way! She tells us she's already reached 50 pounds.

Weight loss has been a big priority for Irene after she was told she was at high risk for diabetes.

"It was a wakeup call that I needed to make some lifestyle changes in eating and working out," she says.

"What I want people to realize is with prediabetes, since there are no signs or symptoms, you need to have your blood sugars checked to know what your levels are. That's very important," says Henry Ford Family medicine Dr. Earlixa Norwood.

Prediabetes means your blood sugars are high, and your insulin isn't working efficiently to get sugar to your cells. If untreated it turns into diabetes. Dr. Norwood might surprise you with her go-to prescription for prediabetes.

"The first line of treatment for diabetes and prediabetes is diet and exercise - that's the prescription. Not a drug; not a pill," she says. 

Irene joined the prediabetes program at Henry Ford where she learned the importance of tracking activity and food.

"For the first 4-6 months, I actually wrote down every single thing that I ate, and included fat grams and the number of calories," she says.

"By losing a modest, small amount of weight - 5 to 7 percent - you can reduce your risk and prevent the risk of getting diabetes," says Dr. Norwood.

"I still go out to eat, but one of the stipulations when I go out to eat is, I tell my coworkers if we go out to eat I have to walk," Irene says.

Irene says she's going to keep moving, and keep lowering her risk for diabetes. 

Click here if you'd like to learn more about the prediabetes program at Henry Ford hospital.