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A Year in Review – Diabetes Education, 2015

A Year in Review – Diabetes Education, 2015


The Family & Consumer Sciences Committee recognized Diabetes Education in Hopkins County as a needed component for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to continuing addressing.  The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes is approximately 29.1 million according to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2015.  An estimated 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes.  Health-care costs now average $13,700 per person with diabetes.

In Texas, 1,919,500 individuals have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Association.  Medical costs are $13.35 billion, and indirect costs (lost productivity) are $4.90 billion.  Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death as listed on death certificates.  Complications include nephropathy (kidney disease), neuropathy (nerve damage), retinopathy (eye damage), foot and skin problems, and others.

The burden of diabetes mismanagement are disproportionately borne by those with little or no insurance coverage, lower literacy, poor or no English skills, lower educational and income levels, and poor access to transportation.  There is no cure for diabetes (yet), but the disease is manageable with determination.

A diabetes coalition has been in place in Hopkins County, which helps with teaching, marketing/promotion of the classes, and providing supplementary materials.  Master Wellness Volunteers assist with registration, survey implementation, and tray preparations/cooking demonstrations.

In response to the need for continued diabetes education for citizens, two sessions of “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” were implemented.  This 5-lesson series includes the following topics:  1) How Food Affects Your Blood Glucose; 2) Are You Eating the Right Number of Carbohydrates?; 3) Improving Your Blood Glucose with Physical Activity; 4) Improving Your Blood Glucose with Medications; 5) Celebrating Diabetes Control.

One session of “Cooking Well with Diabetes” was implemented.  This 4-lesson series includes the following topics: 1) Carbohydrate Foods; 2) Making Recipes with Fat Better for You; 3) Double-Pleasure Side Dishes – Increasing Fiber, Decreasing Sodium; 4) Celebrating Sensibly with Diabetes.  Other educational endeavors included diabetes exhibits at the Senior Citizen Expo, 55+ Health Fair, and Ocean Spray Employee Health Fair.  Diabetes educational packets were given to twenty-two individuals requesting information to help them in their diabetes management.

Results of the “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” series are to be applauded.  Twenty-five individuals participated in the lesson series.

  • 56% pre and 87% post surveys indicated that individuals were watching their carbohydrate intake more closely.
  • 50% pre and 73% post surveys indicated that individuals are achieving 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week.
  • 13% of individuals knew the healthy blood sugar range prior to the series, increasing to 93% after taking the classes.
  • Participants knowing the recommended number of carbohydrates per meal increased for 38% pre to 100% after taking the classes.
  • Participants rating their ability to control diabetes showed vast improvement: 87% indicated poor prior to taking the classes, and 100% indicated very good or excellent after taking the classes.

“Cooking Well with Diabetes” also had similar results.:

  • The ability to recognize starchy vegetables rose from 60% prior to classes to 100% after classes.
  • Those who use herbs & spices instead of salt rose from 40% prior to classes to 100% after classes.
  • The confidence to prepare healthy meals for persons with diabetes rose from 20% prior to classes to 100% after classes.
  • Verbal feedback:  “The Plate Method will become second nature – MY plan is to increase fiber, reduce fat and carbs.”  “I learned which foods are high in carbs and which are low – I learned that fruits are healthy, but DO contain carbs!”  “I learned the formula to reduce salt & sugar in recipes to make them healthier.”

The potential lifetime health-care cost savings resulting from improved management of diabetes by these participants is an estimated $925,019.  Because diabetes education have been consistently recognized by the Family & Consumer Sciences committee and Extension Leadership Advisory Board, the series will continue to be implemented.  In addition, I was appointed to serve on a regional committee to re-design the “Cooking Well with Diabetes” curriculum, which will be finalized in 2016.  Stay posted!

 Hicks enjoys working with food models to help individuals visualize healthy portions.

Hicks enjoys working with food models to help individuals visualize healthy portions.

Closing Thought

When we have a sense of community and focus, we create trust and can help each other to achieve our goals.


Johanna Hicks

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Family & Consumer Sciences

1200-B W. Houston

P.O.Box 518

Sulphur springs, TX 75483

903-885-3443 – phone

903-439-4909 – Fax

[email protected]

Author: KSST Webmaster

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