With the holiday season underway, eating healthy remains a big challenge for everyone. In addition to the extra pounds that go with the territory of celebratory eating, diabetes is also a concern for health professionals. Diabetes affects over 8 percent of the U.S. population, and is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases among health center patients, generating more than 3.9 million patient visits in 2011 (check out NACHC’s press release on diabetes). Given the prevalence of the disease, health center professionals are engaging creative and innovative ways to help people and communities avoid diabetes and obesity. Going beyond the scope of traditional medicine to promote wellness is what health centers do best — and they do it with a community approach. Check out, for instance, how one health center dietician preaches the wonders of sweet potatoes for wellness (link to article). Community Health Centers also host cooking classes or other public educational events (here’s an example of one at Fair Haven Community Health Center in Connecticut) to educate people about good eating habits. Health centers also sponsor or host farmers markets to widen access to fresh foods.
What is your health center doing to fight diabetes? Tell us and we’ll highlight it on this blog.