The University of Kentucky Cooperative Expansion and the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center have teamed up to reduce the risk of diabetes for Scott County residents through a new virtual pilot program.
The UK consultants will deliver the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to Scott County residents who have been diagnosed with prediabetes or are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They are currently looking for Scott County volunteers to be eligible to participate in the program.
While Barnstable Brown is currently running a similar program at its Lexington site, Laura Hieronymus, assistant director of education and quality services at Barnstable Brown said this type of rural expansion program is particularly important in Kentucky.
“We’re one of the highest states in terms of percentages for the number of people with diabetes,” she said. “There are 120 counties in the state and we are mostly rural. The aim of the 12-month diabetes program is to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes through a healthy diet and physical activity, but also through problem-solving and healthy coping. “
According to the 2019 Kentucky Diabetes Report, 1 in 10 Kentucky adults have been told by a doctor that they have prediabetes, while 12 percent have diabetes. Kentucky also has the fourth highest death rate from diabetes in the nation. Jerome said Scott County had one of the highest rates in Kentucky.
Heather Norman-Burgdolf, professor of dietetics in the UK who is involved in the program, described it as a “lifestyle program” for people at risk for type 2 diabetes.
“It’s a year-long program so essentially a group of people where you have a lifestyle coach who has been trained in the DPP so this will be our advisor,” said Norman-Burgdolf. “They enable class or group meetings. Every meeting has a lesson or component, but that’s not the most important piece. It’s the discussion and the dialogue. For example, the topic of discussion could add physical activity to your day. Everyone in the group shares how to do this. “
The program lasts 16 weeks, with weekly or bi-weekly meetings for the first six months. The goal is for participants to lose between five and seven percent of their body weight in the first six months, with more focus on maintenance for the next six months. According to national DPP research, those who complete the program lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 50 percent.
“The program is evidence-based,” said Hieronymus. “It’s a proven program. Participants can and will be successful when working with lifestyle coaches in this role. “
The first year-long program, held in Washington County, had 12 adult participants and ended in September 2020, where Norman-Burgdolf reported a 100 percent retention rate. According to the data collected from the program, participants lost 5.6 percent of their body weight and 75 percent achieved the weight loss goals set at the beginning of the program.
“From what I’ve heard, it was very well received,” she said. “Now that it has been successful there, we hope this will give us some momentum so that our extension agents can see that it can be incredibly effective and effective effective. “
The Washington County program was able to conduct its first six months in person, but had to switch to virtual for the remaining six months due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are plans to launch the Scott County program entirely virtually, with the option to proceed in person later.
“We were just a bit in a doldrums because of COVID,” she said. “We’re realizing that 2021 isn’t going to be normal either, so we’re trying to get Scott County into a completely virtual program. With the cooperative expansion, we are strictly following the recommendations of the state for the size of the groups that can meet. “
The Scott County’s two lifestyle coaches are both dietitians in the area and are recruiting 12 to 15 people to attend. Participants also need Internet access.
Jerome said if someone has a diagnosis of prediabetes or thinks they might be eligible, they can contact Barnstable Brown to schedule a briefing at 859-323-7391.