Several agencies launch pre-diabetes campaign in Tampa Bay area

Pete Dagostino

ST. PETERSBURG, FL  (WFLA) – At 71 years old, Pete Dagostino works out more than some people half his age. But there’s a reason he’s so active. A few years ago his doctor told him  he was at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

“He said Pete if you don’t do something, we’re going to have to put you on medication for diabetes so, that kind of was a wake-up call for me and my wife,” Dagostino said. That wake-up call scared him into action.

That wake-up call scared him into action.

“A little scared when he said that, not particularly surprised.”

Pete is far from alone. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are nearly 90 million ‘Pete’s’ in the world… some 1 out of 3 people are estimated to have prediabetes. That’s why the Ad Council, the American Diabetes Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association,  kicked off a year-long joint campaign designed to raise awareness.

Diabetes_Facebook_NATIONAL_1ADiabetes_Facebook_NATIONAL_7AHeather Figueroa with the Tampa office of the American Diabetes Association said it’s a huge problem.

“A lot of folks know about diabetes, but they don’t know about prediabetes. They don’t know it’s something they reverse. So it’s all about educating folks making sure they know where they stand so they can take the necessary steps to reverse prediabetes,” Figueroa said.

One thing Pete did is join a year-long program at the Bardmoor YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, designed specifically for people who are prediabetic. YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program Director Kieran Gabel said although it’s a year-long commitment, it’s worth it.

“We talk about healthy eating and increasing their physical activity, all with the goal of losing just a little bit of weight and increasing their heart rate activity,” Gabel said.

It worked wonders for Pete. On his next doctor’s visit, he was given the all clear.

There is a simple test you can take to find out your risk. The test consists of a few questions not an actual medical procedure. The answers to those questions, about age, weight and family history, will tell you what your risk is. Then, of course, talk to your doctor about it. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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