The Dining with Diabetes program series was the “spotlight” program at the quarterly statewide meeting of the Wisconsin Diabetes Prevention and Control Program diabetes advisory group on Oct. 21.
Michigan State University Extension in Gogebic County teams up with the local health system (Aspirus Grand View Health System) and the Iron County (Wisconsin) Health Department to offer the program series to residents of Gogebic County, Mich. and Iron County, Wis. It includes four classes and a three-month follow-up session.
Lucia M. Patritto, Extension educator, coordinates the program. She shares the teaching responsibilities with local health care professionals. The team has conducted the class series for five years and has excellent evaluative data highlighting its effectiveness.
Dining with Diabetes has a built-in system of pre- and post-testing via questionnaires and biometric measures. Post-testing occurs three months after the training occurs.
Some of the more notable impacts include:
- Participants had lower levels of blood glucose after taking part in the program.
- One hundred percent of the respondents said that they made changes in their habits as a result of taking the four-class series: some had lost weight; increased physical activity; increased the amount of fruit, vegetables and fiber they ate; and ate less junk food and paid greater attention to portion sizes. Many made changes in their cooking methods, using herbs in place of salt and olive oil or canola oil in place of other oils.
- The percent of class members who had participated in physical activity for at least 20 minutes, five or more times during the previous seven days rose from 23 percent to almost 64 percent.
- Confidence in taking care of their health increased markedly among participants, and they reported an increase in emotional well-being.
As one participant put it: “I learned that diabetes is something to live with, not a death sentence. I feel so much better about myself and my body.”
The group has conducted four core classes in 2010 and will conduct the three-month follow-up in December. Dining with Diabetes is one of the core curricula that the Health and Nutrition Institute will be delivering in communities across the state.