Susan Hershberger

Finding the right fit for diabetes prevention

Diabetes runs strong in Susan Hershberger’s family and she was determined not to go down that road.
She had tried different programs, and nothing seemed to be a good fit for her. However after finding out she had prediabetes, her doctor told her about the Diabetes Prevention Program from Sun Health Wellness.
The classes, the instructors and the camaraderie – along with Susan’s new determined attitude – were just what she needed to succeed.
Today, she is grateful for the physical and mental changes as a result of the program.
An added bonus? Planning a 19-day cruise along the Panama Canal with her husband Don and packing a favorite sparkly jacket that hasn’t always fit.
“I have no trouble wearing it right now. I’m going to take it with me!” Susan said.

Adopting a healthier lifestyle

Sun Health’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) offers evidence-based education and support to guide those who have been diagnosed with prediabetes as they make healthy changes that can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Participants learn, practice and adopt a healthier lifestyle by implementing nutrition strategies, setting activity goals and problem solving. It is the first in-person Diabetes Prevention Program in Arizona to achieve full recognition status from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s also a covered benefit of Medicare and most insurance providers.
The year-long program includes 16 core classes followed by monthly maintenance classes.
Participants experience a range of successes through DPP. For some that means weight loss. For others, it’s establishing a new fitness routine. And for others, it’s finding social support during classes.
Susan knew that finding the right program was important given her family history. Once she started Sun Health’s classes, she realized how severe the consequences could be if she were to develop diabetes.
Her original goal of losing weight, mostly to feel better in her clothes, took on greater meaning.
The classes covered different topics such as general lifestyle changes, improving diet and nutrition, and finding different ways to exercise.

Education and support systems

“We all kind of know what we’re supposed to do… this is how you learn,” she said. “You reinforce what you know. I’ve got all of these reinforcements. It (the program) slowed me down and made me think about them and then I started saying ‘I’ve got to do my work too.’”
Susan started losing weight thanks to staying active with pool walking, yoga and tai chi, and ended up shedding 17% of her overall body weight.
As important, Susan found a “community of people who had the same concerns as I did and that was really nice.”
“Hobbies and activities are much easier for me now. I have a lot more energy,” she said. “I can fit into my clothes and am looking better; and people are noticing.”
Susan encourages others to give DPP a try.
“Nothing seemed to work (before). It was really frustrating and sometimes just dang depressing,” she said. “I found what worked for me…you have to keep searching until you find something.”
For more information about Sun Health Wellness and the DPP Program, call (623) 471-9355, or visit

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