Taking an active role in managing chronic health conditions


May 7, 2018

The Issue

Chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes are among the most prevalent, costly and preventable of all health issues. Eighty-two percent of older adults have at least one chronic health condition. Diabetes is of critical concern in Michigan. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over 800,000 Michigan adults had diagnosed diabetes in 2015. Over 300,000 Michigan adults are estimated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to be living with undiagnosed diabetes and over 2.5 million are estimated to have prediabetes.

The Impact (2017)

Participants in MSU Extension’s Dining with Diabetes course learn how to prepare healthy meals, discover the importance of diet and exercise, and gain tools for managing diabetes. Participants sample a variety of healthy foods and take home recipes to further encourage behavior change. Participants report that as a result of the program:

  • 86 percent are confident they can keep their diabetes under control or help the people they care for keep their diabetes under control.
  • 81 percent cook more often at home.
  • 76 percent fit exercise into their daily routine.
  • 94 percent eat smaller portions.

Participants in the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) discover how making modest lifestyle and behavior changes (such as improving food choices and increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week) can help them lose 5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight. Such changes reduce by 58 percent the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among people at high risk for the disease. MSU Extension is listed on the CDC national registry website for the NDPP as being a recognized provider ensuring quality and fidelity for this evidence-based program.

MSU Extension’s Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) program equips participants with the skills and tools needed to face the daily challenges of living with one or more chronic conditions. Participants report that as a result of the program:

  • 52 percent experienced increased confidence in their ability to perform the different tasks and activities needed to manage their health and reduce their need to see a doctor.
  • 48 percent developed greater confidence in keeping physical discomfort or pain from interfering with life.
  • 45 percent experienced decreased pain symptoms.

The Matter of Balance program is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. The program involves eight 2-hour small-group sessions led by a trained facilitator. During the class, participants learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home, and exercise to increase strength and balance. Participants report that as a result of the program:

  • 96.5 percent learned more than one way to reduce falls.
  • 75 percent learned strategies to address concerns about falling so they could continue regular social activities.
  • 75 percent planned to continue to exercise to increase their physical strength.

MSU Extension Action

MSU Extension disease prevention and management programs provide participants with strategies to improve the quality of their diets, manage chronic health conditions and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. Access to high-quality and affordable programs such as those that MSU Extension provides is essential to saving lives, reducing disabilities and lowering the costs of everyone’s medical care. In 2017, MSU Extension disease prevention and management programming reached 924 Michigan residents.

How Michigan Benefits

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes and prediabetes in Michigan cost an estimated $10.5 billion each year. Your support of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension benefits participants and the community by moderating the increase in healthcare costs associated with caring for a growing population of people with diabetes and other chronic health conditions.

In 2017, the state’s $61.9 million investment in MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension generated more than $1 billion for Michigan residents. Every dollar the state invested in MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension resulted in an additional $2.50 leveraged in federal funds and external contracts, grants and other revenues, as well as $6.22 in additional community benefits. As a result, MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch are able to serve Michigan residents with a benefit/cost ratio of 18:1.


Tags: health impacts

Related Topic Areas

Food & Health, Chronic Disease

For more information visit:

MSU Extension

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