The word diabetes

Lifestyle changes can be critical to preventing the onset of diabetes, everything from modifying diet to minimizing stress levels. The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy (DKICP) is launching a free year-long program for prediabetic residents on Hawaiʻi Island to help foster practical change.

“This program was developed based on research done at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Aryn Meguro, an assistant professor at DKICP. “Its goal is to help people who are prediabetic, or those who think they might be, to learn how to choose healthier foods, better manage stress and to incorporate exercise into their lives. Often, people need help to do that, and that’s what we, as lifestyle coaches, can provide. Other program participants can also be important sources of support.”

Meguro and Bryce Fukunaga, an assistant professor at DKICP will facilitate the program. Both are practicing pharmacists and lifestyle coaches certified through the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

The public is invited to an informational meeting on Monday, March 21, at 4 p.m. inside the pharmacy school’s Hale Kīhoʻihoʻi, Classroom A. Interested participants can register online or email: arynm@hawaii.edu. A prediabetes risk test will be administered at the March 21 meeting, which will determine whether interested participants are eligible for the program.

According to Fukunaga, the first six months of the program will be the most intense.

“We start with weekly in-person meetings to provide information and lay the groundwork for making lifestyle changes,” he explained. “Because weight loss is important in improving overall health of people with prediabetes, a program goal for participants is to lose 5% to 7% of their body weight in that first six months. In the second half of the program, we transition to meeting monthly and helping participants learn how to maintain healthier habits.”

Attendees will need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative test result.