Regular exercise is one of several lifestyle habits that can help to prevent diabetes.
K-State, KU Med to launch diabetes education project
Program focuses on preventing disease with lifestyle changes
Nov. 23, 2020
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State University and the University of Kansas Medical Center are joining forces to determine the most efficient ways to provide education to the state’s residents for preventing diabetes.
The two groups are planning to launch a six-month pilot project in Lyon County and the Central Kansas Extension District to implement the National Diabetes Prevention Program in rural locations in Kansas. The project is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Depending on what they find, the program could then be launched throughout Kansas via the state’s extension network.
The NDPP was created in 2010 to address an increasing incidence of pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes in the United States. A key element is an approach recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make lifestyle changes – such as eating more healthfully and exercising more frequently.
The CDC’s research indicates that people who make the recommended lifestyle changes cut their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58% – and 71% for people over 60 years old.
“We know there is a concerning prevalence of pre-diabetes across Kansas, including rural and urban areas, and among younger and older people,” said Sandy Procter, a nutrition and health specialist with K-State Research and Extension.
Listen to an interview by Jeff Wichman with Sandy Procter on the weekly radio program, Sound Living
Procter and Gayle Price, a professor and extension specialist in K-State’s southeast regional extension office, are leading the university’s work on this project.
A majority of adults who are diagnosed with diabetes – an estimated 90% to 95% – have Type 2 diabetes, which occurs when cells in the body become resistant to the effects of insulin. Unlike Type 1, which occurs when the body cannot produce insulin, the onset of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
The lifestyle changes most commonly recommended for lowering one’s risk of Type 2 diabetes center around weight, physical activity, stress, sleep and the type of food and beverages people choose.
The pilot program, Procter said, “also addresses food because we know diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, as well as diabetes control and prevention. But it reaches beyond food to address lifestyle factors.”
For more than a decade, K-State Research and Extension has offered the national extension program, Dining With Diabetes, throughout Kansas. Dining with Diabetes focuses on individuals with Type 2 diabetes and/or their family members and caregivers, Price said. The grant from NIH and the partnership with the University of Kansas Medical Center will help the state’s extension agents broaden programming to those who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes.
“I think KU Med recognized that K-State Research and Extension provides a great opportunity with agent educators located across the state, so we provide an effective avenue to get this very focused program out to people who are at risk,” Procter said.
“For health’s sake, it really is key for people to have the knowledge that they can change behaviors now to prevent this really costly disease.”
Procter said extension agents Emily Prouse (Lyon County) and Leah Robinson (Central Kansas District) are helping to lead the pilot programs in their communities.
If the pilot project is successful – and pending future grant opportunities – K-State Research and Extension and the KU Medical Center will make plans to offer a full year program throughout Kansas, including six months of directed lessons, and six months of “maintenance and check-in,” according to Procter.
“Because this program is offered as more of a lifestyle-coaching intervention, it can really help someone understand how they can control situations that sometimes lead to over-eating or sedentary behavior or other activities that may make them prone to diabetes. It’s a way to help participants take control and prevent the onset of diabetes as they go into their future.”
More information on K-State Research and Extension’s efforts to address diabetes in Kansas is available online.