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As blood circulates through every major organ, it becomes a key source of information for how well the body is functioning. A routine schedule to screen and test for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels can help manage, and even prevent, a diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetes Alert Day will be recognized on March 23, 2021, to promote the use of the diabetes risk test and encourage individuals at risk to consult with a provider.

Understanding risk and health status allows individuals to take charge and utilize provider education and community programs, and resources. The South Dakota Department of Health’s Undo the Risk campaign has increased awareness of prediabetes and was awarded a 2020 Gold Telly Award for a local non-profit TV campaign.

Kayla Magee, RN, diabetes program coordinator with the South Dakota Department of Health, is proud of the progress the state has made to bring awareness to prediabetes. “In addition to the Undo the Risk campaign, the South Dakota Department of Health launched a virtual Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) option called Live Your Best SD. The online platform combined with digital apps and valuable content delivers an engaging user experience that helps create lasting change.

Undo the Risk

Prediabetes is diagnosed when the hemoglobin (A1C) rating falls between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent. For some people with prediabetes, early treatment as well as moderate lifestyle changes can reduce blood sugar levels, effectively preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes.

“The rural nature of the state made travel to participate in an on-site DPP program difficult for many individuals,” Magee added. “This virtual platform extends our reach throughout the state and supports the mitigation practices in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

A referral from a healthcare provider is required for individuals with prediabetes to participate in the National DPP, which provides a full year of added support and guidance to prevent the onset of diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 183,000 North Dakotans and 220,000 South Dakotans living with prediabetes and many more who are undiagnosed.

Taking 60 seconds for a risk test can be the first step to prevent a diabetes diagnosis. Upon reviewing the A1C and considering the impact of Body Mass Index (BMI), a primary care provider can support positive health outcomes by referring the individual to the various evidence-based programs offered across the Dakotas.

In addition to national programs, state-based chronic disease self-management education programs are available for prediabetes, diabetes, pain and more. A full list of offerings for North Dakota can be found at and at Better Choices, Better Health for South Dakota.

Call to Action: Two-Minute Chronic Disease Program Survey

The South Dakota Department of Health and a committee of chronic disease prevention stakeholders have developed a two-minute chronic disease program survey to determine assistance needs for implementing and sustaining evidence-based chronic disease programs.

Feedback will help identify best practices, important outcomes, positive impact and resource development needs. In addition, the survey responses will contribute to communicating potential return on investment (ROI) for current evidence-based programs. Any healthcare professionals who screen, test, and refer patients are asked to complete the brief survey and share the survey link with other appropriate contacts.

Evidence-based programs offered by the South Dakota Department of Health:

  • All Women Count
  • Better Choices, Better Health® SD
  • Fit and Strong
  • Matter of Balance
  • National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP)
  • Park Rx
  • South Dakota Opioid Resource Hotline
  • South Dakota Quitline
  • Walk With Ease