By ROBERT PIERCE
• Daily Leader
Diabetes is a serious and costly disease, but research has shown that those who learn to manage their blood glucose levels, eat healthy and exercise regularly can lower their risk of complications and lead a healthier and more productive life.
Following the success of its “What’s Cookin’ with Diabetes” program in 2008, the Seward County K-State Research and Extension will continue to educate the public starting next Monday with “Dining with Diabetes.”
Family and consumer sciences agent Kathy Bloom said unlike the 2008 program, this one is more local.
“It’s put on by K-State Research and Extension, Southwest Medical Center, the Liberal Area Coalition for Families, Great Western Dining, United Methodist Mexican American Ministries, Seward County and United Way,” she said. “We were also given funding by both Kiwanis groups – Early Risers and the Noon Kiwanis. It’s a big collaborative effort.”
Bloom said participants need to come each of the four nights of Dining with Diabetes – Aug. 30 and 31 and Sept. 7 and 8 – at the Seward County Activity Center.
“There’s something different,” she said. “The diabetics will be given an A1C test at the first session. After the fourth session, ours will be in November, we will give a follow-up session, where another A1C test will be given. That is at no cost to the participants thanks to all of our partners and sponsors.”
Bloom said participants will have results from their A1C test within five minutes.
“Then we will be having a short lesson and lecture with a Power Point,” she said. “There’ll be a snack served.”
Bloom said the other three programs will likewise feature a Power Point lesson, with the second half of the class featuring food demonstrations.
“Each night, they will have the option of tasting five entrees that make up a whole meal,” she said. “We will do live demonstrations of three of the five recipes. That’s one of the great components of the program.”
Programs will be available in both English and Spanish.
“In the Spanish set, we have received permission from West Virginia Extension to translate the entire program into Spanish for the nation,” Bloom said. “The coalition has offered the use of their translator, and Dora at Mexican American Ministries is helping in that effort. We’re excited to be able to make that available to West Virginia Extension for them to pass that to the nation.”
Bloom added officials in Kansas City have already requested a copy of the Spanish version.
“It’s pretty exciting for us to be involved in that and to be able to make this great curriculum available for the nation,” she said. “The curriculum comes to us out of the Extension service at West Virginia University. It also comes out of Joslin Diabetes Center, which is the premier diabetes center in the nation.”
Bloom said the program offers excellent information.
“The program has been given in West Virginia for several years, but in 2009, it was updated,” she said. “This is a very updated version with very up to date information.”
Bloom said the What’s Cookin’ program was quite successful in 2008, and she hopes Dining will bring similar success.
“We had so much interest in the program,” she said of the 2008 class. “We knew there was a very large need for diabetes education in our area. With ‘What’s Cookin’ with Diabetes,’ they just select certain sites every year, and we were not selected for that year. They tried to pass it around.”
This is when Bloom said she and other local health officials went looking for another program to bring to the community.
“That’s when we found this excellent program,” she said. “One comment we had about the program is there wasn’t enough education on actual food. This curriculum is really going to be helpful in that area.”
If Dining with Diabetes is a success and funding can be found, Bloom said she hopes to bring it back every other year.
“It’s quite expensive to bring in,” she said. “Each A1C test costs nearly $10 at a discounted rate, so for each participant, it’s costing us $20, as well as a large food expense. Also, it’s a very big effort. We’re hoping it’s successful and, if the community really likes it, to make it available every other year.”
Bloom said there is already a waiting list of people for the English session, but there are still many openings for the Spanish program.
“Our community has really answered in a strong way that they really would like this kind of education,” she said.
Bloom said names are being taken and put on a waiting list for the English session.
“There may be cancellations, or after our first session, there may be some people that don’t come and we could open it up later,” she said. “It’s a big time commitment for people, but we really expect the people that have signed up to participate in all four nights because they’d be missing out on a lot of good education if they don’t.”
There is no charge to attend Dining with Diabetes, and people can call the Extension office at 624-5604 or UMMAM at 624-0463 to get on the list for either the Spanish or English program.
“They can sign up here too,” Bloom said referring to the Extension.
Bloom said recent information has indicated that by 2050, one out of every three children will have diabetes.
“It’s becoming a huge epidemic, and this program helps families learn,” she said.
Bloom said Dining with Diabetes is designed for the diabetic and their family members.
“Family members are to come and learn how to prepare foods,” she said.
Bloom said diabetes is hereditary.
“Children of diabetic parents do have a risk of becoming diabetics as well,” she said. “People that don’t have any diabetes history in their family, there’s a lot more people with no history developing diabetes.”
Bloom said simple diet and exercise can make a huge difference in preventing diabetes, and Dining with Diabetes does feature an exercise component.
“We’ll have a 10-minute exercise period,” she said.
For more information on the program, contact the Seward County K-State Research and Extension at 1081 Stadium Road in Liberal, go to the Web site at www.seward.ksu.edu, call 624-5604, or e-mail