Preventing and Managing Diabetes and other Chronic Health Conditions


June 7, 2021 - <>,


As a result of MSU Extension’s chronic health and diabetes prevention and management programming successfully transitioning to an online platform, 968 participants learned to manage their chronic health conditions through increasing physical activity, learning how to better communicate with their health care providers and improving their knowledge of healthy eating.


◦ Helping prevent and manage diabetes and other chronic health conditions
◦ Improving quality of life
◦ Boosting self-confidence to handle chronic health symptoms and pain
◦ Increasing knowledge of healthy food choices


Chronic diseases are among the most prevalent, costly and preventable of all health issues. Over 60% of Michigan adults have at least one chronic condition, which results in spending 75 cents of every health care dollar to treat these conditions. Over 95% of Michigan adults report engaging in unhealthy behaviors that increase their risk of developing a chronic disease.
MSU Extension’s Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) programming helps people across Michigan living with chronic conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis and chronic pain. There are three PATH programs offered specific to health conditions: Chronic Disease PATH, Diabetes PATH and Chronic Pain PATH. The American Diabetes Association identifies Diabetes PATH as meeting its Diabetes Support Initiative criteria, a measure indicating high-quality, research-based programming.
In PATH workshops, participants learn important skills such as goal setting, dealing with pain and fatigue, communicating with health care professionals and managing medications. Learning these skills helps equip participants to face the daily challenges of living with chronic conditions. In 2020, 88% of participants in PATH programming reported reducing or maintaining the amount of pain medication they took.


Dining With Diabetes is a five-session series conducted by MSU Extension and community health partners. Participants have the opportunity to explore and taste foods prepared from diabetes-friendly recipes. The Dining With Diabetes program is offered exclusively by state Cooperative Extension services in the U.S. This interactive program helps people with prediabetes, Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes — as well as their caregivers and loved ones — learn cooking skills and strategies to better manage, prevent or delay diabetes and related complications.
Michigan diabetes health data reveal about one in 10 Michigan adults aged 18 and up are living with diabetes. MSU Extension’s Dining With Diabetes program series can help those living with the condition, those trying to prevent it, and their friends and family members learn about the role nutrition can play in managing diabetes. About one-third of participants were male, with an average age of 70 years old. Almost all participants (90%) live in a one-person household; 60% have diabetes, while 5% were unsure if they have diabetes. The four-lesson Dining With Diabetes program had a completion rate of 75%.


About 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, but the disease’s onset can be delayed or even prevented with healthy lifestyle modifications. The Diabetes Prevention Program can help people who are at risk of developing diabetes make the changes they need to avoid the disease altogether.
In 2020, MSU Extension continued full recognition status from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the Diabetes Prevention Program. MSU Extension has expanded programming to include distance learning along with in-person learning. Participants have reported positive health changes from the program, including reducing medications, lowering blood sugar A1C levels and losing weight. The goals of the program include losing 5–7% of one’s initial body weight and incorporating 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
In 2020, the yearlong MSU Extension National Diabetes Prevention Program had 46 participants in six cohort programs. Program participants are at risk of developing diabetes or have been diagnosed with prediabetes. Participants find motivation to make lifestyle changes in a small cohort of 8 to 12 participants who are all seeking to improve their health and decrease their risk of developing diabetes. At the end of the year, the results were amazing! The group lost a total of 175 pounds and averaged 140 minutes of physical activity a week. Of the participants who successfully finished the program, 75% met the program goal of 5% weight loss.

The program is extremely meaningful to participants, and the shift to a virtual space had some surprising benefits. One participant, Katie, was hospitalized on the day and time of the class, yet she logged in from her mobile device while in her hospital bed.

“This class has made me so motivated, I just had to find a way to log in and not miss it,” she said.
MSU Extension educators Pam Daniels, Kris Swartzdruber and Christi Demitz let Katie know they have never witnessed such dedication.
“Her enthusiasm, while under the circumstance of being in the hospital was one of the greatest facilitating moments we’ve witness. She gave such a testimony to others in the class about pushing through obstacles to prioritize self-care,” said educator Pam Daniels.




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