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AgriLife: Diabetes Education in Hopkins County

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Diabetes Education in Hopkins County

Each year, our staff provides a summary of our major in-depth Extension programs.  Diabetes education is of particular interest to me because I know the struggles that individuals face on a day-to-day basis.  Our youngest child was diagnosed with type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes at the age of 2 ½ and he is my inspiration for helping others to manage their diabetes.

Relevance:  According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), approximately 29.1 million (9.3%) people in the U.S. have diabetes.  Similarly in Texas, approximately 1.8 million (9.7%) have diabetes.  In Hopkins County, approximately 3,575 residents have been diagnosed with diabetes (10.5%).  Unlike other chronic diseases, a person with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease by following a healthful eating pattern, regular physical activity, and developing skills needed to assist in controlling their blood glucose, rather than medication dependency alone.  Diabetes is not curable (yet), but it is manageable.

The Hopkins County Family & Consumer Sciences Committee identified diabetes education as a continuing need in Hopkins County.  A Diabetes Coalition (consisting of local pharmacist, dietitian, nurse, certified geriatric health trainer, and Department of State Health Services staff member) took a leading role by assisting with teaching, marketing/promotion of the classes, and providing supplementary materials.  Master Wellness Volunteers assisted with marketing, registration, survey implementation, tray preparations/cooking demonstrations, and wrap-up.

Response:  The 2017 spring series of “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” featured 5 lessons: 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.

The newly revised “Cooking Well with Diabetes” series was held in the summer, and featured 4 topics: 1) Carbohydrate Foods; 2) Making Recipes with Fat Better for You; 3) Double-Pleasure Side Dishes – Reducing Sodium and Increasing Fiber; 4) Celebrating Sensibly with Diabetes.  In addition, diabetes information was provided at the 55+ Health Fair and through the mass media.


1)      “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” series: 12 participants completed the pre-and post- surveys

–          Demographics: 5 females, 7 males; average age – 67; 83% (10) had never attended a diabetes class

–          Adoption of practices: 30 minutes of physical activity most days – 92% (11); limiting carbohydrates – 100% (12); will have dilated eye exam – 100% (12); will have doctor check feet – 100%

–          Understanding: knowing the recommended blood sugar ranges before and after meals – 100% (12); knowing the number of recommended carb choices – 100% (12); recognizing foods that are high and low in carbohydrates – 100% (12).

–          Ability to control diabetes: prior to class, 50% (6) rated their ability as fair, and 50% (6) as good or very good.  After completing the class, 100% (12) rated their ability to control diabetes as very good or excellent.

–          Economic impact: based on potential health care cost savings, the financial impact is $420,604

2)      “Cooking Well with Diabetes” series: 12 participants, 10 completed pre- and post-surveys

–          Demographics:  9 females, 3 males; average age – 60; 75% (9) had never attended a diabetes cooking class

–          Adoption of practices: 83%  (10) bake, broil or grill instead of fry; 100% (12) more closely check the nutrition facts label; 100% (12) mostly or always add extra vegetables to casseroles, soups, sandwiches and salads; 75% (9) mostly or always use herbs/spices in place of salt in recipes

–          Understanding: 100% increased knowledge on meal planning; 100% increased understanding on making healthy choices when eating out

–          Ability to control diabetes: prior to class 30% (4) rated their health as fair or very poor.  After completing the class, 83% (10) rated their health as good or very good

3)      Overall diabetes educational contacts – 210 which includes one-to-one consultations and planning/preparation meetings with Diabetes Coalition and Master Wellness Volunteers.  Additionally, approximately 200 were reached at the 55+ health fair, and many more through mass media (newspaper, social media).

Future Implications:

I will be working with an employee/doctoral candidate at the Christus Trinity Hospital in Sulphur Springs to implement “Sí, Yo Puedo Controlar Mi Diabetes” in 2018, targeting Hispanic audiences.  Classes will take place at our Extension Office.  The two diabetes series, “Cooking Well with Diabetes” and “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes,” are on the calendar for 2018.

Christmas Sewing Workshop Reminder

Spaces are still available for the Christmas Sewing Workshop, scheduled for December 11-13.  You do not have to attend all three days, but we will be set up from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.  Several make-and-take projects will be available, as well as fabric.  We have eight sewing machines, or you may bring your own.  One of the optional projects will be quillows (a quilt that folds into itself to make a pillow).  Bring a sack lunch – drinks will be provided.  Cost is only $10, which includes several of the projects.  Please call 903-885-3443 to reserve a seat.

Closing Thought

True winners are distinguished by the fact that they sometimes lose, but more importantly that they can rise up from defeat.  You cannot succeed if you are not prepared to fail.

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]

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Author: Staff Reporter

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