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A Year in Review – Diabetes Education by Johanna Hicks

A Year in Review – Diabetes Education by Johanna Hicks
  • PublishedNovember 30, 2018

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A Year in Review – Diabetes Education

               For the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting some of the major program impacts from 2018.  Many people are not aware of the positive influence that Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has on the health and well-being of individuals.  This week, I want to focus on the diabetes education program in Hopkins County.

Relevance:  According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), approximately 29.1 million (9.3%) people in the U.S. have diabetes.  Similarly in Texas, almost 2 million (9.7%) have diabetes.  In Hopkins County, approximately 12% of residents have been diagnosed with diabetes.  Unlike other chronic diseases, a person with type 2 diabetes can manage their disease by following a healthful eating pattern, regular physical activity, taking prescribed medications, and developing skills needed to assist in controlling their blood glucose.

               The Hopkins County Family & Consumer Sciences Committee identified diabetes education as a continuing need in Hopkins County.  A Diabetes Coalition took a leading role by assisting with teaching, marketing/promotion of the classes, and providing supplementary materials.  Master Wellness Volunteers assisted with marketing, registration, survey implementation, tray preparations/cooking demonstrations, and wrap-up

Response:  The 2018 spring series of “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” featured 5 lessons: 1) How Food Affects Your Blood Glucose; 2) Are You Eating the Right Number of Carbohydrates? 3) Improving Your Blood Glucose with Physical Activity; 4) Improving Your Blood Glucose with Medication; 5) Celebrating Diabetes Control.

The “Cooking Well with Diabetes” series was held in September, and featured 4 topics: 1) Carbohydrate Foods; 2) Making Recipes with Fat Better for You; 3) Double-Pleasure Side Dishes – Reducing Sodium and Increasing Fiber; 4) Celebrating Sensibly with Diabetes.

I had the honor of networking with Trinity Christus Clinic and Dr. Angela Doddy to provide “Sí, Yo Puedo Controllar mi Diabetes,” a diabetes curriculum targeting Hispanic audiences.  This is a 7-lesson series, providing recipe sampling and materials.

Results: “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes” series: 13 participants completed the pre-and post- surveys

–        Demographics: 11 females, 2 males; average age – 66; 85% (11) had never attended a diabetes class

–        Behavior: 30 minutes of physical activity most days – 85% (11); spacing carbs throughout the day – 92% (12); will have 30 minutes of physical activity daily – 54% (7); will focus more on fruits & vegetables – 100% (13).

–        Confidence:  ability to control diabetes – all participants increased their confidence, with 54% (7) rating it “Extremely confident;” 100% (13) understood how to prevent low blood sugars when exercising.

–        Economic impact: based on potential health care cost savings, the financial impact is $379,995.

“Cooking Well with Diabetes” series: 8 participants completed pre- and post-surveys

–        Demographics:  7 females, 1 males; average age – 70; none had attended a diabetes cooking class

–        Adoption of practices: 100% (8) more closely check the nutrition facts label; 100% (8) mostly or always add extra vegetables to casseroles, soups, sandwiches and salads; 75% (6) mostly or always use herbs/spices in place of salt in recipes

–        Understanding: 100% increased knowledge on meal planning; 100% increased understanding on making healthy choices when eating out

–        Ability to control diabetes: One participant reported that her blood sugar had dropped to normal ranges during the 4 weeks, and she lost 9.2 pounds.  Others indicated learning how to recognize carbs in foods.

Future Implications:

I will once again network with Christus Trinity Clinic in Sulphur Springs to implement “Sí, Yo Puedo Controlar Mi Diabetes” in 2019, targeting Hispanic audiences.  Dates will be announced soon.  Additionally, the two diabetes series, “Cooking Well with Diabetes” and “Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes,” are on the calendar for 2019.  Marketing and promotion will be done through mass media, including newspaper, radio, social media, and flyers.

Twogether in Texas Marriage Education Workshop

               This is an exciting time of year – celebration of the birth and life of Jesus, family gatherings, beautiful music, special events, and delicious food.  Many couples choose this time to get engaged for marriage.

               Twogether in Texas is a workshop designed to equip couples with skills needed to create a healthy, loving marriage.  Topics are: marriage expectations, communication, conflict resolution, money management, and goals & dreams.  The 1-day workshop is taught through open conversation, video sketches, hands-on activities, and couple interaction.

               Refreshments and lunch will be provided, and the workshop is absolutely free.  Another perk is that engaged couples will receive a certificate to save $60 upon applying for a marriage license.  In 2018, twelve couples completed the workshop.  The next workshop is scheduled for Saturday, February 9, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 1200 W. Houston, Sulphur Springs.

               Please call the Extension Office at 903-885-3443 to reserve seats.

Closing Thought

A good night’s rest, a good cup of coffee, and a good talk with the Lord make a good start to a good day – Harold Easdon (my dad)

Recipe of the Week

Hot Fruit Compote


  • 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 16-ounce can peach slices, drained
  • 16-ounce can sliced pears, drained
  • 11-ounce can mandarin orange segments, drained
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Maraschino cherries (optional)
  • Sliced or slivered almonds (optional)


1)      Preheat oven to 375°F.

2)      Combine fruits in a 1 ½ quart casserole dish.

3)      In a saucepan, combine remaining ingredients except cherries and almonds.  Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved and butter in melted.

4)      Pour sauce over fruit and sprinkle with almonds.  Garnish with cherries.

5)      Bake for 25 minutes.




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