In her golden years, Cira Figueroa was able to lose 21% of her weight, 33 pounds, and drop several clothes sizes. As a result, she reduced the risk of developing diabetes after participating for a year in the Triple-S prediabetes program.

Cira is one of 15 people who joined the Triple-S prediabetes program that was held in San Juan and Ponce from July 2021 to July 2022. Over the course of the year long program, these groups met with their certified trainers to modify their lifestyles, primarily with regards to nutrition and physical activity. The prediabetes program implemented by Triple-S is based on a national program designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study showed that the CDC program, which is evidence-based, was able to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58%.

Thanks to participant engagement, the program’s effectiveness and the lifestyle coaches’ enthusiasm, results were achieved, and the CDC granted the Triple-S program “Full Plus Recognition” for five years. That type of recognition is granted when 60% of participants have achieved at least a 5% weight loss after a year in the program and a minimum reduction of 0.2 % in the levels of glucose in hemoglobin (HbA1C).    A significant number of participants were able to lose more than 5% of their weight and achieve the desired target in glucose levels in their hemoglobin. In the case of Cira and José Franco, both were able to lower it by 1.2 points.

José Franco recalled that when he retired, he wanted to shed some pounds to feel better.  Before joining the program, he had only been able to lose four pounds in a year. As a result of joining the program, he was able to lose 47 pounds to 212 pounds, 18%  of his weight, after a year in the program. Other members of the program looked to José as an example to follow. “I eat everything. Before I ate two pork chops with mofongo, now I eat one pork chop and eat half of the mofongo,” he said. He added that when he began the program, he was taking three pills for his blood pressure. Now he is taking one and is on the way to not having to take anything. “The doctor says whatever you are doing, keep on doing it.”

“The instructors helped us so much. They made us feel important,” said Ida Fernández, another participant. In her case, she was able to lose 14 pounds.  Héctor González echoed that there was an ease to the group dynamic with their coaches even though they did not know each other before joining the program.  Juanita Ortiz de Jesús, who accompanied her husband Héctor to the meetings, highlighted that of all the groups she has participated in throughout her life, even while in the university, there  usually tends to be some discord. Yet, that had never been the case in this group.  The group’s coaches, Damaris Pérez, a health educator, and Nitza Pérez, a nutritionist, were always focused on listening to each participant to find ways of motivating them. Each participant has their own weakness, in the case of Ramón Bauzá, it is sweets and in the case of his wife Cira, she accepts she tends to be a “coach potato.”

Cira and her husband are making the most of their new active lifestyle and were able to join their daughter and their grandson, a medical student, and his girlfriend to welcome the New Year in Madrid this year. “We walked and walked”, said Ramón. He also added that he is continuously trying to get his brother who does not live in Puerto Rico to learn about the program.  “It works.” 

“We want to thank everybody who contributed to the full recognition from the CDC, particularly to all the people who have participated in the Diabetes Prevention Program implemented by Triple-S through its lifestyle coaches. Thanks to each program participant for letting us support their quest for health and for their engagement and the milestones they achieved,” said Verónica Acevedo, Manager in charge of  Unit for Community Services for Prevention and Education.

The Triple-S program is available to members who have a HbA1C between 5.7 and 6.4, a glucose  level of  between  140 and 199 or if they get a have a confirmed prediabetes risk after taking the CDC prediabetes test.   Take The Test | Prediabetes | CDC

For more information, you can call the Unit of Preventive Management at Triple-S, (787) 277-6571