Lose weight, exercise more and eat healthier are always on the top of the New Year’s Resolution list. The gym is packed for the first few weeks and the vegetable tray is a fixture at the dinner table. And then, life gets in the way. For individuals with chronic disease, including diabetes, a healthy lifestyle prevents complications and may be life-saving.
Without the tools and support to succeed, even individuals with motivation and best intentions for a healthier lifestyle have gotten off track. Great Plains Quality Innovation Network (QIN) has partnered with Better Choices, Better Health (BCBH) South Dakota to provide tools and support for individuals with diabetes to turn a New Year’s Resolution into a manageable long-term lifestyle.
“In the past few months, Better Choices, Better Health has begun offering workshops specifically for individuals with diabetes,” stated Denise Kolba, program manager for the Great Plains QIN and BCBH Master Trainer. “Learning about the tools to manage a healthy lifestyle evolves into problem-solving the struggles and celebrating successes as a group.”
Better Choice, Better Health with Diabetes is a six-week program held in communities across South Dakota to teach skills for managing diabetes, including goal setting, eating right and exercising. Currently there are twelve workshops scheduled to begin between January and March. Efforts are ongoing to engage local organizations and healthcare facilities for coordinating and hosting workshop events.
Life INC, a ministry of the volunteer organization Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC), offers over 40 classes at four different campuses in western South Dakota to grow life skills and promote better choices. Love INC’s church partners will be hosting Better Choice, Better Health with Diabetes workshops at two locations starting in January.
Program Director, Roy Roberts, explained the need, “Diabetes is a huge problem. We work a lot with individuals who live in poverty; and because of their life style and the general life style of our society, people simply do not eat the right kinds of foods.”
“Food choices impact blood glucose levels throughout the day. Every bite counts and that constant pressure can lead to high stress levels and burn out. Understanding how to create flexibility with what you eat can go a long way for sustainable change,” added Kolba.
Great Plains QIN has Master Trainers who provide assistance to organizations and healthcare facilities interested in coordinating and referring individuals with pre-diabetes and diabetes. For example, Avera Medical Group in Pierre, SD, began a referral program and uses BCBH with Diabetes as a self-management tool to help patients achieve positive health outcomes. Diabetes Education Program Coordinator Colleen Swanson, RN, BSN, CDE highlighted their efforts during The Big Picture: Diabetes Self-Management Education webinar in November.
There are a variety of diabetes self-management education options available throughout the Great Plains QIN four-state region. Additional details regarding the diabetes care initiative can be found on the Great Plains QIN Web site.