In honor of American Diabetes Alert Day, March 28th, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) wants Oklahomans to check their risk of developing prediabetes. Alert Day is an opportunity to sound the alarm about the prevalence and risks of Type 2 diabetes by asking Oklahomans to take the risk test.
In addition to taking the test, those at risk can become involved in the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Currently, there are a dozen programs offered across the State of Oklahoma.
“The National Diabetes Prevention Program has been around for 15 years and is an evidence-based program,” said Rita Reeves, OSDH Diabetes Program Coordinator. ”The evidence shows you can reduce your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent by participating in this program,” Reeves said.
Carla Mitchell is the coordinating nurse at the McCurtain County Health Department. Mitchell and a few of her co-workers recently had the chance to go through a National Diabetes Prevention Program presented by the Choctaw Nation. She and her classmates met on a weekly basis, usually for an hour during lunch. During the meeting, they were given information on how to make better choices when cooking at home as well as eating at restaurants.
“The biggest thing was accountability. You know you’re going to weigh in when you go. It’s not a competition with anyone else; it’s all about how well you can do yourself,” said Mitchell. “I recommend the program to anyone who is ready to make a change. Everyone knows if you have somebody to talk to you’re going to be more successful. The group meetings were very important.”
While not all counties are offering the national program at the current time, participation is growing.
“The number of programs across the state doubled in 2016. If someone is interested in participating in a program and there isn’t one in their area, they can contact the local health department. Some health departments are partnering with established programs and offering classes by video conference, while others are developing their own programs with community partners,” said Reeves.