Skip to main content


By Robin Allen

As we wrap up American Diabetes Month I would like to share a program that is being used at some Air Force Bases around the country.

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Cathy Takacs, RD, LDN, Group Lifestyle Balance (GLB) Dietitian for the pre-diabetes and weight loss program at Scott Air Force Base (AFB).  This program was designed to provide education, support, and the tools for GLB members to adopt a healthy lifestyle.  The  GLB program is from the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Prevention Support Center (DPSC).  This is a non-profit organization, established in 2006 with the goal of preventing diabetes and improving cardiovascular health. The Center was developed with funding from the Department of Defense (DOD), and provides education, training, materials, and support to health professionals for the military and general populations.

Objectives of DPSC:

  • “To facilitate identification of individuals at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
  • “To reduce the risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease by providing training and support for the delivery of the Group Lifestyle BalanceTM program in many diverse settings.”
  • “To maintain and update the materials and resources used in the Group Lifestyle Balance program on a continuous basis.”
  • “To become an established resource and advocate for diabetes prevention for local and national communities.”

Scott AFB

GLB at Scott AFB is a 12-week program based on the 22 lessons from GLB University of Pittsburgh program.  Cathy completed the 2-day lifestyle coach training program at the University of Pittsburgh before starting the program at Scott.  A physician is associated with the program and Cathy orders the lab work for lipid panels, HA1C, and glucose.  Labs are voluntary but help monitor the participant’s progress.

Participants keep food records using MyFitnessPal and Cathy reviews and provides feedback.  Paper food records can be kept if that is the individual’s preference.  Participants are contacted weekly during the first 12 weeks of the program by phone or email.  GLB check-in includes discussion about barriers to success, menu planning, special events etc. Upon completion of the initial 12-week core program, participants follow up with monthly GLB support group sessions such as cooking classes, grocery store tours, and guest speakers.  Examples of guest speakers include Mental Health  to help with self-talk and positive self-image and a yoga instructor who discussed different types of physical activity.  Offering speakers and food demonstration classes on healthy eating has helped with retention and class attendance.

Cathy markets the GLB program through physician referral, social media, the base bulletin, email blasts, Scott AFB Facebook page and the Scott AFB 375th Medical Group.

A total of 40 members had completed the GLB program at Scott AFB with an 80% retention rate and a total weight loss of 74 # when I talked with Cathy earlier this Fall.

The overall goals of Group Lifestyle Balance™Program at Scott AFB:

  • Participate in a one-year Group Lifestyle Balance™ Program that includes
  • Core – consisting of 12 weekly sessions.
  • Transition – consisting of 4 bi-weekly/monthly sessions.
  • Support – consisting of 6 monthly sessions.
  • Self–monitor weight.
  • Lose 7% of weight through healthy eating.
  • Do 150 minutes of brisk, physical activity each week.
  • Track and learn more about healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Learn how to problem-solve and stay motivated.

Cathy’s biggest challenges:

  • Keeping participants coming back and actively engaged.
  • Staying positive even when not losing weight.
  • Being a good listener, letting them speak, accommodating all different personalities.

After completion of the program, participants rate how they like the class and provide suggestions for improvement.

Cathy describes this as a great benefit for military, retirees, and dependents.  For more information on the GLP program, training and materials go to the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Prevention Support Center (DPSC)

If you have any questions about this program for your facility, you may contact Cathy at Cathy Takacs, RD, LDN, [email protected].


Please share your thoughts about this program and how it might benefit your military population.

What did you do to promote American Diabetes Month?

This was posted by Robin Allen, a member of OneOp (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the OneOp Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebookon Twitterand LinkedIn.

Flickr CC Jogging Couple by Ed Yourdon taken May 31, 2009