Wildcat Connection February 2019 - Page 6

I

was privileged to start off the New Year by finishing up the final two sessions of the Dining with Diabetes class series we started in December. This class series was hosted at our Independence office and once again, we partnered with Wilson Medical Center to offer the classes.

Due to logistics of space and food preparation, we cut off registration at twenty-five for the classes though we had a waiting list of others wanting to participate. Rather than being present by phone as in the previous class we partnered on, Wilson Medical Center’s Registered Dietitian/Certified Diabetes Educator was able to be in physical attendance at three of the four classes. Her availability in the classes to answer questions and offer tips and advice was so valuable and much appreciated by class participants.

As is normally the case, many class participants offered written and verbal comments about the importance of the class to them. They highlighted benefits like teaching them to better understand carbohydrates, meal planning, and portion sizes, as well as helping them understand Nutrition Facts Label reading. Several were especially excited about learning to cook with more herbs and spices, and some commented that they really appreciated learning about healthier food substitutions.

Dining with Diabetes is a little different than most local diabetes education in that we actually prepare food in every class. Participants get to see how easy it is to prepare tasty and healthy food that fits into their meal plans. They also get to eat the food prepared, and they go home from each class with six or more recipes. Many come back with stories about trying the recipes at home and tell us their favorites.

About one in 10 Kansans has been diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic disease characterized by elevated blood sugar (blood glucose). Diabetes is a common, serious, and costly disease. However, it can be controlled and the complications of diabetes such as blindness, kidney failure and amputations can be prevented if blood sugar is controlled most of the time. Dining with Diabetes is designed to help participants learn strategies to be proactive in managing diabetes.

I think one of the comments penned on a Dining with Diabetes Post Survey summed up the value of the classes by saying: “This program has really helped me to take a more active role in controlling my diabetes and raised my daily awareness. Thanks!”

We are currently in discussions with Labette Health about partnering with them to offer Dining with Diabetes in Parsons later this year. For now, we will be offering Stay Strong, Stay Healthy classes in Coffeyville beginning March 4 and lasting through April. Check our district website for program offerings that might interest you, and consider joining us soon.