Preventing diabetes and childhood obesity with education, free screenings

Diabetes screening on Feb. 21; child weight screening on Feb. 22

Preventing diabetes and childhood obesity with education, free screenings
Healthy Weight and Your Child program aims to get kids and families to develop healthy eating and physical activity habits. (Source: Callie Lipkin)

WILMINGTON/SOUTHPORT, NC (WECT) - The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina works to educate the community on diabetes and healthy eating habits with new programs and free events for the whole family.

Free Diabetes Screening

Free Diabetes Screening

The Brunswick Wellness Coalition (BWC) is partnering with the YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina, Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc. (BSRI), and County Health Serivces to urge individuals to attend a free diabetes screening to know their risks and options.

“One in three adults in the U.S. has pre-diabetes, yet only about 11 percent knows they have it,” said Lindsay Maher, BWC’s executive director. “It is important for everyone to know the risk factors of type 2 diabetes and to know their numbers; our partners are making it easier for our residents to do so by offering this test free of charge.”

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program Coordinator, Bridget Carroll, says that some who people may have been told they are “borderline diabetes” could lead to the assumption that their condition isn’t very serious.

“The diabetes screening is to focus on getting folks that have pre-diabetes," says Carroll. "Some people may not realize that they have it so some people that are at risk like overweight and as we age our risk for type 2 diabetes increases.”

The screening is Thursday, Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Southport Senior Center on 1213 N Howe St.

There will be experts at the event to answer questions about diabetes. Those who will have access to resources for diabetes prevention from the partnering organizations. The diabetes screening is a simple, non-fasting blood test, done by a single finger prick. The screening is first come, first serve. No appointment is needed.

Healthy Weight and Your Child

Healthy Weight and Your Child

Midtown YMCA in Wilmington is launching Healthy Weight and Your Child, an evidence-based program designed to empower children between the ages of 7-13 to reach a healthy weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

The 25-session program launches March 5.

Children eligible for the program must be between the ages of 7 and 13, have a body mass index greater than or equal to the 95th percentile, receive approval from their doctor or a health care provider, and accompanied by a parent or caregiver at every session.

Preventing diabetes and childhood obesity with education and free screenings

The program engages the entire family and combines three elements of healthy eating, regular physical activity and behavior change.

“The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina has a long history of advancing the health and well-being of children in Wilmington, NC and helping children reach a healthy weight is now more important than ever,” says Carroll “Healthy Weight and Your Child will help children experience improved health outcomes and higher self-esteem, and families will feel empowered to make and support healthier choices.”

Today, one in six children are obese and one in three are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The obesity rate for New Hanover County as of 2018 is 25%, just below the states 30%, which is one of the highest in the country.

“Definitely genetics has a factor in that, but also lifestyle," Carroll tells WECT. "So that’s what we’re going to focus on is just healthy eating, giving them the tools to make good food choices, and then also building an activity that’s fun so it’s not like ‘oh gosh, I have to run a lap.’ We’re going to do fun like-game type activities to make it fun.”

An information and screening event will be held at the Midtown YMCA, located at 709 George Anderson Dr. in Wilmington on Friday, Feb. 22 from 5:30-7:30 pm.

For more information on both the diabetes screening event and the new Healthy Weight and Your Child program, contact Bridget Carroll at

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