Dining with diabetes

Diabetes is a health problem for many Ohioans. According to 2007 statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a study done by the Ohio Department of Health, more than 830,000 adult Ohioans have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 200,000 are estimated to have diabetes, and don’t know it.

Diabetes is a serious and life-threatening disease that can cause multiple complications, including heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease (neuropathy) and amputation. The disease is also extremely costly. According to the American Diabetes Association, the direct (medical costs) and indirect (lost productivity) costs of diabetes total an estimated $5.9 billion dollars in Ohio. It is estimated that $3.9 billion are direct costs and $2 billion are indirect costs.

Living with diabetes requires patience and discipline, especially when it comes to managing a diet. Therefore, the OSU Extension Office of Belmont County, in conjunction with community health partners, is offering a Dining with Diabetes series for people with diabetes, their family members and their caretakers. This program helps individuals learn strategies to manage their diabetes through menu planning, carbohydrate counting, portion control, label reading and taste testing healthy recipes.

The series will be offered at two locations at two times on May 2, 9 and 16:

  • Martins Ferry library – Noon to 2 p.m. with lunch served
  • Bellaire library – 5-7 p.m. with dinner served

All three sessions in the series and meals are covered by a $10 registration fee, thanks to a generous grant from the American Heart Association.

“Dining with Diabetes is a valuable tool for helping people with diabetes and their families to manage the challenge of making healthy food choices to control diabetes symptoms,” explains Polly Loy, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator with OSU Extension, Belmont County. “We are especially pleased to include a catered meal for the first time this spring, so that we can demonstrate the nutrition information we are sharing in a way that is very clear – ‘this is what your plate should look like’.”

Classes begin with a catered meal, followed by an educational session with a certified diabetes educator and food cooking demos. According to Loy, the certified diabetes educator will present the most recent recommendations concerning diabetes practices, including discussion about sweets and carbs (May 2), fats and sodium (May 9), and vitamins, minerals and fiber (May 16). In addition, participants will receive a notebook with recipes and diabetes information.

“Everyone is welcome to attend the series which best fits their schedule,” Loy explained. “The sessions from 5-7 p.m. at Bellaire library will probably work best for people who work through the day, while people with free time during the day might want to attend the sessions in Martins Ferry from noon to 2 p.m.”

Space is limited and reservations are required. Call Loy at the OSU Extension at 740-695-1455 by Friday, April 26 to register for the series.

Hershberger can be reached at sdunder@timesleaderonline.com