Reducing the Risks for Type 2 Diabetes through Prediabetes Education

Summary

Community-based educational programs accessible to everyone is one approach to improving a community’s health. The Family and Consumer Sciences Agent offers the nationally recognized Prevent T2 Diabetes Prevention Program in Spalding County.

Situation

Approximately a million Georgians or 12% of the population have been diagnosed with Diabetes. (1) Current health rankings show that Spalding County’s rates are even higher than the state’s at 16%. (2) Just as alarming is the fact that 1 in 3 US adults have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know they have it.(3) Prediabetes is a risk factor that can lead to type 2 diabetes. Health issues such as being overweight, and physically inactive put us at greater risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Having diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and leads to other serious complications.

Response

Community-based educational programs accessible to everyone is one approach to improving a community’s health. The Family and Consumer Sciences Agent offers the nationally recognized Prevent T2 Diabetes Prevention Program in Spalding County. Prevent T2 is a year long lifestyle change program that stresses 5–7% weight loss and 120 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Participants of the program must be overweight (BMI 24+) and either diagnosed with prediabetes, score high risk for type 2 on the Prediabetes Risk Test, or diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. There are no clear symptoms for prediabetes so knowing the risk factors and testing are important in reducing the rate of people developing diabetes. As a trained coach, the agent provides lifestyle change skills, encourages participants to set and meet goals, and motivates the group to support each other through idea sharing, problem solving, and celebrating successes. At each session participants report weight and physical activity, and discuss problem solving, healthy eating, stress management and goal setting.

Impact

The closest diabetes prevention program, offered by the regional District 4 Health Department, is 21 miles away. Spalding County Extension provides an accessible, in-person chronic disease prevention program locally. Thirteen participants met in seven face to face sessions before transitioning to virtual sessions due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. To date, participant’s lost an average of 8 pounds, totaling 91 pounds, and they logged an average of 246 minutes of physical activity per week. Reaching their goal of 5-7% weight loss greatly reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and potentially reduces the burden of medical costs. A mid-point evaluation shows that participants increased their vegetable intake and the accountability received from each other has made a big difference in helping them reach their goals. Participants feel like they have really bonded and know each other well, providing them with meaningful support for the lifestyle changes they are making. Most in the group will reach their 5-7% weight goal and 120 minute per week physical activity goal. Participants feel that the resources provided by this program will be a great benefit after the programs is over. Resources: 1. American Diabetes Association – The Burden of Diabetes in Georgia 2. 2020 Georgia County Health Rankings on Diabetes Prevalence 3. CDC National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

State Issue

Health & Nutrition

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: County
  • County: Spalding
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Family and Consumer Sciences

Author

    Sweda, Cynthia
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