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Diabetes Programs Make An Impact

By Johanna Hicks

Johanna Hicks, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Family & Community Health Agent, 1200-B West Houston St., P.O.Box 518, Sulphur springs, TX 75483; 903-885-3443 – phone 903-439-4909 – Fax, [email protected]

Every year starting in mid-November, our Extension staff begins the process of summarizing our program impacts. This is the first of more to come. Many of you know that diabetes education is my passion. Having a child with type 1 diabetes has given me some insight to the struggles faced everyday by individuals with the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and, approximately 12 percent of the adult population in Hopkins County has been diagnosed with diabetes- higher than the state of Texas (10 percent) and the U.S. (8.4 percent). 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 with diligence. The Hopkins County Family and Consumer Sciences Committee identified diabetes education as a continuing need in Hopkins County. A Diabetes Coalition (consisting of local pharmacist, dietitian, certified diabetes educator/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.

Chronic Disease management in Hopkins County was addressed in numerous ways. The following were implemented in 2019:

  • Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes 5-lesson series
  • Cooking Well with Diabetes 4-lesson series
  • 55+ Health Fair Educational component
  • Diabetes Support Group (formed in February, 2019, and hosted by Extension)
  • Mass Media contributions – newspaper, radio, social media

Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes (post-results)

  • 100 percent checked feet more frequently
  • 100 percent improved confidence in selecting appropriate foods when hungry, treating low blood sugars, and overall control of diabetes
  • 80 percent decreased high-fat food intake
  • Participants indicated that recognizing foods high in carbs, portion control, and label reading were among the greatest benefits of the class

Cooking Well with Diabetes (post-results)

  • 100 percent reported that the program met or exceeded expectations
  • 100 percent reported mostly or always using vegetable oil instead of lard/shortening
  • 100 percent reported mostly or always consulting the nutrition facts label
  • 83 percent reported increase of consumption of fruits & vegetables
  • 83 percent adopted the MyPlate method of meal planning
  • Participants indicated benefiting from the recipe demonstrations and sampling and learning about carbohydrate foods

Diabetes Support Group

Newly formed in February, 2019 as a result of needs assessment, this group meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month at the Extension Office. Educational topics are provided by Extension FCH agent and Certified Diabetes Educator, Sue Potts. Round-table conversations allow participants to share concerns, ask questions, share recipes, and express ideas.

55+ Health Fair

  • 200-plus individuals attended this event
  • Publications distributed: MyPlate, How Does Your Salad Stack up?, Re-Think Your Drink, Fast Food Fats, along with marketing flyers for the two diabetes series
  • Snacks provided: unsalted popcorn made fresh on site, provided by Extension Master Wellness Volunteers


  • 214+ reached through education
  • 10 Diabetes Support Group meetings
  • 100 percent of series attendees improved in 2 or more areas of diabetes management
  • 29 educational sessions were held in 2019
  • 80 individuals attended face-to-face educational programs related to Chronic Disease Management
  • 17 Master Wellness Volunteers, Diabetes Coalition Members, and Health Experts assisted in program implementation and evaluation
  • 200+ individuals received information about healthy eating and disease management at the 55+ Health Fair

If you would like more information about any of these programs, feel free to contact the Extension Office at 903-885-3443.

Closing Thought

Life is too precious to hurry through and not enjoy the moment. – Melinda Hill

Hopkins County AgriLife Extension Office, 1200-B West Houston St., Sulphur Springs, Texas

Author: Faith Huffman

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