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WVU Study Aims to Help West Virginians Overcome Diabetes and Depression

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When it comes to Type II diabetes, West Virginia ranks second in the nation, and 1/4 of those diagnosed will experience some type of depression in his or her lifetime.

That's why West Virginia University is doing its part to help people suffering from both.

Dr. Guy Hornsby from WVU is heading Program ACTIVE (Appalachians Coming Together to Increase Vital Exercise) and is recruiting those who are looking to feel happier and healthier.

Whitney Hickman is an exercise physiologist at the YMCA on Lodgeville Road. She helps her clients boost their self esteem by dropping weight. And in the case of one of her subjects: a LOT of weight.

"She lost 120 lbs," said Hickman.

That's why Hickman, along with the rest of her staff, is so enthusiastic about the YMCA partnering with West Virginia University for the "Program ACTIVE" study.

"Any time we can be a part of helping out each and every person around us, we're going to jump on that in a heartbeat," said Heidi Bastin of the YMCA.

"What is the best way to reduce depression in those who have Type II Diabetes?" asked Hornsby.

Hornsby is in the Exercise Physiology Department of WVU's Health Sciences Center. He says those eligible to participate will be assigned to one of four treatment groups in the study. These groups are talk therapy, exercise, a combination of both, or Usual Care.

Hornsby said there is certain criteria that participants must meet but encourages anyone who thinks they might be a good candidate should apply.

Because for many people with Type II diabetes or depression, it's about taking that first step.

"Their whole concept of how they feel and about life, it all changes," said Hickman.

The study is for adults only and is free for all participants.

To find out more about the program and its criteria, call 1-855-DMACTIV and 1-855-362-2848, or visit the Program ACTIVE website.