A Year in Review
Every year around this time, our staff begins a series of columns about major programming impacts in our respective areas of expertise. Today, I want to focus on Diabetes Education in Hopkins County, which is a passion for me. My son, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 2-1/2, is my inspiration for helping others learn how to manage the disease. He is now 24 years old, and he and his wife are expecting their first child in June, 2017! He runs several 5K races each year, enjoys the outdoors, woodworking, and his career. Diabetes has been a nuisance, but has not taken control of his life.
The number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes (primarily type 2 diabetes) is 29.1 million according to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. Texas data indicates that 10.8% of the population has been diagnosed with diabetes, while in Hopkins County, 10.5% of residents have been diagnosed with diabetes – only slightly lower than the state average (www.dcd.gov). Diabetes is not curable, but it is manageable.
The Hopkins County Family & Consumer Sciences Committee identified diabetes education as a continuing need in Hopkins County. In 2016, “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” series was held. 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 Medication; 5) Celebrating Diabetes Control. My Diabetes Coalition took a leading role by assisting me with teaching, marketing/promotion of the classes, and providing supplementary materials. Master Wellness Volunteers assisted with registration, survey implementation, tray preparations/cooking demonstrations, and wrap-up.
Nine participants completed the spring Do Well, Be With Diabetes series, with the following results:
- Because neuropathy can lead to serious health issues, it is important for persons with diabetes to check their feet. Prior to the class, only 22% (2) had their doctor check their feet. Following the class 100% indicated that they would check their feet and ask their doctor to do so at each visit.
- Participants’ understanding of the recommended number of carb choices per meal increased from 33% (3) prior to attending the class to 100% (9) following the series.
- Participants who were able to recognize the high carbohydrate food in a given list increased from 33% (3) to 100% (9) following the series.
- Participants knowing the recommended blood glucose ranges before and two hours after a meal increased from 11% (1) to 100% (9) following the series.
- Participants rating their ability to control their diabetes as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ rose from 0% to 88% (8) following the class. This was a big improvement. One participant rated their ability as ‘good.’ Prior to attending the series, 100% (9) rated their ability to control their diabetes as ‘fair’ or ‘poor.’
- Economic impact: $381,592 based on projected health care cost savings and value for lost wages.
In addition, diabetes information was provided at the Senior Expo, 55+ Health Fair, and through the Sulphur Springs News Telegram, Front Porch News Texas Facebook page, and Hopkins County Family & Consumer Sciences Facebook Page. An 8-issue e-newsletter was provided to individuals wishing to receive the series.
I had the privilege of being selected to serve on a regional committee to revise the “Cooking Well with Diabetes” series, which focuses on food choices, revision of recipes to make them healthier, and cooking methods to reduce fat and sodium, and increase fiber. The new series is scheduled to be rolled out in 2017 statewide.
Appreciation is expressed to my Family & Consumer Sciences Committee, Diabetes Coalition, and Master Wellness Volunteers for their part in making diabetes education in Hopkins County a priority. Diabetes Education has once again been designated as a priority in Hopkins County and will be addressed in 2017. For information on the 2017 series, contact my office at 930-885-3443.
Next Week, I will focus on the Hopkins County Health & Wellness plan for 2016 and methods utilized for addressing the issue of overweight/obesity, wellness and nutrition. Stay tuned!
County-wide 4-H Christmas Party
Hopkins County 4-H members will gather on Monday, December 5 for “Pajamas and Pancakes”. We will have food (pancakes and toppings, hot chocolate bar, and plenty of water!), games, photo booth, crafts, and a community service project. This is a great way for our 4-H kids to have fun while celebrating Christmas. We will also be discussing a 2017 Exchange Trip with Sanders County, Montana. Julie Hutchins, former Hopkins County 4-H Agent, is spearheading the event for the Montana kids, and we will be working closely with her via e-mail and phone to plan a fun, educational exchange trip!
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt – Abraham Lincoln