Healthier & Happier Together


A huge wake-up call hit Alex Encinosa when the doctor told him he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. “My dad had passed away when he was 65 and I didn’t want to end up in that same situation,” says Alex. To reverse his deadly path, he signed up for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). He asked his wife, Tonya, to join him. “I hadn’t weighed myself in over 10 years,” shares Tonya. “My biggest fear was getting on a scale and facing reality.”


The yearlong program made quite the difference for the couple. In a relaxed classroom setting with a trained lifestyle coach at the Northwest Hillsborough Family Y, the pair learned how to incorporate healthy eating, physical activity and behavior modification into their daily lives.


In addition to losing weight and gaining muscle, Alex’s cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels dropped. Best of all, he’s no longer prediabetic. Furthermore, the scale doesn’t scare Tonya anymore. “She became that person that every week she knew exactly how much she wanted to weigh by the next time she weighed in,” recalls Tampa Y Healthy Living Director Dawn Kita. “And every single week she’d be in class.”


After graduating DPP, Alex and Tonya continue to do group exercise classes together at the Bob Sierra North Tampa Y. “The YMCA Diabetes Program changed my life,” testified Alex. “Having the supporting infrastructure like the Y…it makes it that much easier. It’s not like your normal gym. It’s more than that.”


Tuesday, March 26, is American Diabetes Association Alert Day® and as the leading community-based organization committed to improving the nation’s health, the Tampa Y is encouraging all community members to take a diabetes risk assessment by visiting If you’re at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fully recognizes DPP as an effective, quality evidence-based program. It’s offered at all 13 Tampa Y centers. For more information, click here or contact



Pictured above: WATCH the video above to see how the Y Diabetes Prevention Program transformed the lives of both Alex and Tonya Encinosa.

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