Chronic Disease Prevention

Evidence Based
Health Initiatives

As a leader in preventative health care, the Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut offers a broad range of research-based programs that target specific health issues to the community. Through programs like these below, the Y helps manage a range of health conditions. Regular exercise and healthy eating are a must, but creating a support group through difficult health journeys is invaluable.

Evidence Based Health Initiative Contact:

Lisa O’Connor
Wellness Director
Director of Evidence Based Health Initiatives
203.775.4444 x 135

One in three American adults has high blood pressure, which puts them at heightened risk of stroke and heart disease, two of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

In response to this critical health care issue, the YMCA offers its Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program, an evidence-based program that features personalized support as participants develop the habit of monitoring their blood pressure. Research shows that the process of recording blood pressure at least twice a month over a period of four months has been shown to lower blood pressure in many people with high blood pressure.

Participants work with trained Healthy Heart Ambassadors for the duration of the four-month program.

Participants will

  • Take and record their blood pressure at least two times per month
  • Attend two consultations a month with a Healthy Heart Ambassador
  • Attend monthly nutrition education seminars

Who is Eligible?

Take the quiz below and find out!

Register At Location Near You, Contact:

Lisa O’Connor
Wellness Director
Director of Evidence Based Health Initiatives
203.775.4444 x 135

Measurable progress, unlimited support. Pre-diabetes is a potentially reversible condition that often leads to Type II diabetes, and 86 million people in the United States are estimated to have it. If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, or believe you may be at risk for developing the disease, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can help you develop a healthier lifestyle.

As a leading nonprofit for strengthening community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the Y believes that all people should be able to live life to its fullest, healthiest potential. In the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program a trained lifestyle coach will introduce topics in a small classroom setting and encourage participants as they explore how healthy eating, physical activity, and behavior changes can benefit their health.

During the program participants will discuss topics such as healthy eating, increasing physical activity, reducing stress, problem-solving, and much more.

Are you at risk?

Who Can Participate?

  • To qualify for the program, participants must be at least 18 years old, overweight (BMI > 25; BMI > 22 for Asian individuals), and at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.A blood test, a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes, or a qualifying risk score confirms this risk.
  • Individuals who have already been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes do not qualify for this program.

Did you know…

  • According to the CDC roughly 35% of U.S. adults have pre diabetes and few are aware that they are at high risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the number of new cases of diabetes by 58%.


  • To reduce body weight by 7%
  • To increase physical activity to 150 minutes per week

Diabetes Prevention Contact:

Lisa O’Connor
Wellness Director
Director of Evidence Based Health Initiatives
203.775.4444 x 135

people at meeting

EnhanceFitness focuses on dynamic cardiovascular exercise, strength training, balance, and flexibility—everything older adults need to maintain health and function as they age. This program is a perfect off-site program for older adults living in our community. This CDC Evidenced Based Program runs for 16 weeks. Participants meet 1 hour three times per week.

Example Class Schedule

  • 5-minute warm-up to get the blood flowing to the muscles
  • 20-minute aerobics workout that gets participants moving, or a walking workout to lively music that the class chooses
  • 5-minute cool-down
  • 10-minute stretching workout to keep the muscles flexible
  • Balance exercises throughout the class

Participants’ progress is measured through fitness checks completed at the time the individual first joins EnhanceFitness, then every four months.

Past Participant Comments

“My participation in the fitness program is motivating everyone else in my house to exercise, my daughter and my granddaughter included. I guess they all figure if that old lady can do it, so can I.” — Ruthie

“We really enjoy the music and dance routines, it makes us feel like we are on Dancing with the Stars” — Omie

“So far I haven’t missed one class. I look forward to coming. I do what I can and I’m having so much fun.” — Mary

Enhance Fitness Contact:

Debbie Nichols
Physical Director
203.775.4444 x 136

The Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease Program is a 6-week community-based physical activity and self-management education program. While walking is the central activity, Walk With Ease is a multi-component program that also includes health education, stretching and strengthening exercises, and motivational strategies.

The program is led by a trained instructor and will include a guidebook and a walking schedule to get you safely moving toward better health.

Fall 2023 Program Details:

  • September 25 – November 3
  • Mondays and Wednesdays at 2:00pm
  • Fridays at 11:00am

Walks will take place at the Still River Greenway in Brookfield. Park at the entrance closest to the Police Station. Understand the basics about arthritis and the relationship between arthritis, exercise and pain. Register today!


$25 for Members

$50 for non members

Be the first to 25 to register and receive a FREE YMCA GIFT!

Walk with Ease Contact:

Lisa O’Connor
Director of Evidence Based Health Initiatives
203.775.4444 x 135

Evidence Based Health Initiative Contact:

Lisa O’Connor
Wellness Director
Director of Evidence Based Health Initiatives
203.740.3432 x 135