Every day for 10 years, Ana Eguiarte would cross the border from Tijuana to her job in San Diego. Last year she decided to officially move to the United States, hoping that her children would have better opportunities for education and health.
One of the first things Ana did was accept medical insurance so she could visit the doctor’s office for a physical. To her shock, Ana tested positive for prediabetes.
“It was a surprise for me to have prediabetes because I have been overweight for many years, and have always considered myself a ‘healthy fat person,’” Ana says. With the ominous possibility of acquiring diabetes at the age of 45 lingering in the air, Ana knew she had to take action.
Even before her diagnosis with prediabetes, Ana knew she needed to change her weight. The test results helped her take real action and change her habits. To Ana, though, this was the hardest thing.
“You have to do something about it,” she says. “You yourself have to make a change and live healthier. So, the hardest thing, without a doubt, is the change in habits and incorporating new activities into your life.”
Even though Ana was ready to work on managing her weight and her condition, she had no idea where to start. She found her answer in a place she least expected.
At a parent event called Coffee with the Principal, hosted by her children’s high school, the department of community services shared with Ana that Scripps was starting a diabetes prevention program. It would allow people with prediabetes the opportunity to learn new techniques and activities to live a healthy life.
When she found out about the program, she set up an appointment to be evaluated. Within a few months, she was a member of the Prevention Program at Scripps for people within the Spanish speaking community.
Since joining, Ana says she has been making several changes in her lifestyle. The free prevention program, which consists of learning information regarding healthy habits, healthy food, portion control and balance, also allows group members to connect with each other and share their experience with diabetes.
She says, “It allows us to feel identified and know that everyone else is also making an effort to be healthy.” Ana has also increased her physical activity by walking to a nearby park every day. She feels this class enables her to put herself and her health first, something she isn't used to as a working Latina mother.
Ana firmly believes everyone can prevent themselves from getting diabetes if they take the necessary precautions and learn good habits.
“If there is someone who is thinking about [taking the class] but are a bit discouraged, I would invite them to think about putting their health first. This is a great opportunity to learn with people who can help you be better,” she says.
Ultimately, the thing that keeps Ana going is knowing that by taking care of herself, she will be able to enjoy her life without limitations and that she can be present for her family.
Take charge of your health and learn more about the Scripps Healthy Living, Diabetes Prevention and Diabetes Education programs. Call 800-727-4777 to register for a free orientation session with the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute.