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LEAD-UP (Lifestyle Education Access for Diabetics: a University Program), a program funded by the Flow Health Care Foundation, Inc. began in 2005 under the leadership of Vic Ben-Ezra, Professor in the Department of Kinesiology.  The program offers the Denton and TWU communities supervised exercise and nutritional counseling for free to people who have diabetes or those who are at risk for developing diabetes. 

The idea of LEAD-UP grew out of my research interests which have focused  on the effects of acute exercise on risk factors associated with lifestyle related diseases, such as diabetes. In trying to find a way to do more than just pursue research answers, I believed it was time to share information with the people who live with diabetes and try and help make available more choices for a better life. Being aware of the objectives of the Flow Health Care Foundation, I proposed a program that would provide access to information about nutrition and a venue to exercise safely, without worry about whether insurance would pay for it.

The exercise part of LEAD-UP is available 5 days per week at the following times, M-Thurs 6:30-8:00AM, 11:00AM-1:00PM, 5:30-7:30PM, and Friday from 11:00AM-1:00PM, when the University is in session. All supervised exercise takes place in Pioneer Hall where the participants can walk on the elevated track in Kitty Magee Arena, or workout with weights or use cardio equipment in the workout area on the second floor that overlooks the pool.

The program is staffed by three extraordinary graduate research assistants all of whom are Master’s students in the Exercise and Sports Nutrition Program.  All participants are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with the graduate students to discuss their nutrition and address any dietary issues. As part of the program everyone who signs up receives a monthly calendar with the schedule for that month, and a newsletter that includes tips about diet and exercise, and the announcement of the monthly workshop. The workshop is an opportunity for us to provide educational information about proper nutrition and exercise, and address issues of concern regarding diabetes.  A few times in past years we offered a workshop before Thanksgiving that included how to choose healthy food options and how to gauge a proper portion size. To make this more “real-life”, immediately following the workshop we provided a Thanksgiving dinner for 30-40 people so they could employ what they just learned. A good time was had by all!

One additional benefit of LEAD-UP is that our undergraduate Kinesiology majors are involved with the day to day delivery of the program. Each Kinesiology major is required, during one semester, to work 30 hours in the LEAD-UP program. These students work with our participants helping with the safe use of resistance exercise equipment, answering fitness questions, checking blood pressure, or assisting in the delivery of a workshop.  We found that this experience provides valuable pre-practicum skills for our majors who have an emphasis in exercise science, where these students are required to participate in cardiac rehabilitation and corporate fitness internships before they graduate. It should be noted that

Dr. Barney Sanborn, Chair of the Kinesiology Department, provides significant resources (office space, funds for mailings and Xeroxing, and a teaching assistant to guide the undergraduate majors) in helping LEAD-UP to operate successfully in Pioneer Hall. Acknowledgement and appreciation is extended to Ms. Beth Palmer, Pioneer Hall Facility Manager, who enables LEAD-UP to run smoothly.

Lastly, the very best thing about the program is that it provides a safe environment to exercise and knowledgeable people to address issues that may arise. Moreover it instills confidence in our participants that they can have more control of their lifestyle and feel they are doing something positive to help themselves.


For more information about LEAD-UP, please contact Dr. Vic Ben-Ezra.


page last updated 12/8/2015 12:44 PM