Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 18, 2013

Diabetes education course teaching ways to manage the disease through diet

ASHLAND — Diabetes is a common disease in the Tri-State area, but it’s one that can be managed with awareness and a healthy lifestyle.

That is the approach some are taking through a seven-week diabetic cooking and education course at Scope Towers. The class, taught by Lena Reese, an agent with the Boyd County Extension Office, met for the first time Thursday.

“Diabetes is not a death sentence, by any means,” Reese said before handing out registration forms to students.

The students took turns introducing themselves to the rest of the class, adding how long they had been diabetic. Some were diagnosed more than 20 years ago, while others learned about their condition less than six months ago.

For the first hour of the class, Reese taught students how to “take ownership” of their diabetes through nutrition. Tawnia Jones, a diabetic educator at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, spoke during the second hour.

“This program will help you set goals. ... You need to make realistic goals. Measure things in minutes or other ways, if you can. ... Be physically active. Moving is important” Reese said.

The students will learn one diabetic-friendly recipe each session and will be sent home with ingredients to make it. Thursday’s recipe was “Magic Fruit Salad.” If students complete the course they will also receive an 18-piece cookware set.

This is a companion course to three-week diabetes education courses hosted by Northeast Kentucky Care Center, a free clinic for uninsured and low-income residents in Boyd and Greenup counties, explained Vicki Aleshire, vista for the care center.

“We started out offering this to our patients and then opened it up to residents of Scope Towers. They really enjoy this. We hope they’ll act as a support group for each other,” said Mary Crowley, the clinic administrator.

She said a class like this is important because of how common the disease is in the Tri-State.

“Diabetes is so prevalent in this area. It doesn’t go away, and there are a lot of misconceptions. ... We want to help people be as healthy as they can.

The ongoing course is full, Aleshire said, but those interested in a future session can call her at (606) 920-9733 to be placed on a waiting list.

SHANNON MILLER can be reached at smiller@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2642.

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