Diabetes Prevention Program to help Vallejo locals, long term

Vallejo Times-Herald
By Dianne de Guzman | November 9, 2015

Touro University California is looking to encourage locals to eat healthier and work out through a yearlong diabetes prevention program that starts Thursday.

Dr. Jay Shubrook works at the school and is organizing these classes, which are being offered free to the public, thanks to the university and Solano County Public Health.

"Solano County had one of the highest rates of diabetes in the state (in 2013) and we would like to impact that," Shubrook said in a phone interview. "In the short term, we would like to reduce the number of people to get diabetes in Solano County and (in the) interim range, we'd like to reduce the number people that have complications related to obesity-related disease.

"Long term, we'd like to have an impact on childhood obesity," Shubrook added.

Consisting of 22 classes, the program has been developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and touches on different topics such as working out, what to eat at restaurants, problem-solving issues, setbacks and stress. Participants are encouraged to keep a food and workout log and the group meets once a week to deal with issues that participants are encountering.

Michele Jenkins, 57, of Vallejo has joined the program and said that she hopes the classes will help her manage her diabetes, which she had previously worked to deal with on her own. Experiencing some setbacks, Jenkins said she thought the group would help her with what she needs to do.

"I need to learn to eat healthier," Jenkins said. "Although I've gone through different programs, I need the support to be consistent with it. I was doing really well exercising earlier in the year, but sometimes you just need a support system."

Jenkins said that she thought the class would be helpful for those that are pre-diabetic and also those who are younger.

"I think if we teach this to (the) younger people that think they're invincible and they say, 'I'm never gonna get fat' and just the awareness of how not taking care of your body, not eating right, catches up with you as you get older," Jenkins added.

"Everybody seems to want to have the quick fix and this is not a quick fix," Shubrook said of the program. "This is something they're going to do for the entire year and when it's the realization that it's a long-term change, those that can embrace that do really well."

Shubrook is considered successful due to the group mentality, the continual logging of food and exercise and the pace of the program, which extends throughout the year. The program goes from a weekly class to (later) a monthly class, as participants transition to making healthy eating a regular habit.

The other piece of success for the program is the ability to help affect behavior change for each individual and make the program work for them.

"For me, as a physician, I think too often we give advice without the context of the network they live in," Shubrook said. "I say, 'Hey, I'd like to see you eat less beef and if I don't know who you spend time with, what your finances are, what your cultural preferences are, what things are like at work, that's a harder behavior to change. ...Too often in healthcare we don't take that into account.

"This (program) is all about building support around behavior change," Shubrook added.

The group hopes to hold more programs for residents and community groups in the future and will begin holding classes in Fairfield, Vallejo and later Vacaville in 2016.

To sign up for the program, which begins Thursday, or to learn more about future classes and community partnerships, contact Shubrook through email at jay.shubrook@tu.edu. The Diabetes Prevention Program starts on Nov. 12, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., Thursdays at 545 Magazine St., Vallejo.