Our DPP staff, actively screens for participants with the intent to identify youth at risk for pre-diabetes and diabetes in order to recruit candidates for Lifestyle Balance, and diabetes prevention education.
We have promoted our program as life changes to benefit family, offered to help with activities for them and/or their families to become healthier. Many people don't get family support to make changes, many are resistant to change and end up reverting back to old habits.
We showcased, and offered, nutrition alternatives to the deli foods, empty calorie foods and drinks; yet people are reticent to join classes. We provide a nutrient counter book, which is an eye-opener to the way families have consumed meals and snacks. As education, we offer tools to start gardens and to seek Farmers Markets for fresh foods.
Lack of resources is also a hindrance, as our program is limited on what incentives we stock. In our rural towns, we do not have private gyms to use, or if there is one, it is cost prohibitive to join. We were fortunate to supply each community center with some exercise equipment and many people use this on a regular basis. The downfall is not having trainers to help manage participant's progress. Being rural, often qualified personnel aren't available, or not able to be funded.
The perception of diabetes in our communities has seemed to be: "Don't say it, don't hear it, don't do anything, and it's not a problem". The is a prevailing attitude of being doomed--that they will "get it anyway, so why do all the prevention stuff now?"
"Knowledge is power" has been a good motto to teach. By educating people, some will end up in the DPP classes, which some will continue to live the way the have been and do nothing to change. We emphasize: be educated, become more active, change unhealthy habits. . . . .before becoming diabetic. Before having problems with eyes. Before having amputations, and heart disease. Before dialysis.
We have the ability to assist at-risk children, teens and families to prevent this disease. Our goal is to reach all the at-risk kids and families using education and activity. Remember, Knowledge is power.