SEARHC offers Lifestyle Balance classes in Sitka

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Lifestyle Balance Program will provide another series of diabetes prevention classes in Sitka. The free series of 16 classes will start in late August or early September.

The classes are open to adults of Alaska Native or American Indian heritage who have been diagnosed with prediabetes or who have had a higher-than-normal fasting blood glucose level. A person with prediabetes has a higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, and most people who have prediabetes don’t even know it. Some of the risk factors for prediabetes are:

Having a parent, brother or sister who has diabetes; being physically active fewer than 30 minutes three times a week; having high blood pressure; and being a woman who had diabetes during a pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or delivered a baby that weighed more than nine pounds.

The good news is when people with prediabetes learn how to make small, permanent lifestyle changes it can help them prevent or delay their progression to Type 2 diabetes. Research shows that making small lifestyle changes can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent. Alaska Natives and American Indians have some of the highest diabetes rates in the world. Because of these staggering statistics, the SEARHC Lifestyle Balance Program was established in 2005 to help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in high-risk individuals.

The SEARHC Lifestyle Balance Program includes 16 hands-on classes, individual lifestyle coaching, quarterly follow-up and ongoing group events to share and learn how to continue making healthier choices during the journey to wellness. Participants also receive at least three years of support after they complete the classes.

To participate in these free Lifestyle Balance Program classes, you must be at least 18 years old, be of Alaska Native or American Indian descent, be a resident of Sitka, have a clinical diagnosis of prediabetes or have had a higher than normal blood glucose level, and a willingness to participate in regular group education sessions and individual counseling sessions. Class times to be determined by potential participants and staff.

For more information and to register for classes, contact Heleena vanVeen at 966-8914 or, or contact Walleen Whitson at 966-8916 or


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