Helping Our World starts with all of us. The Diabetes HOWTM initiative looks beyond the reasons why we need to address diabetes globally, to how we can help people with the condition. To do this, we need to support each other by sharing and enhancing what's already working. We will identify successful diabetes initiatives and then offer suggestions on how they can be replicated in communities like yours. Our goal is to help any willing individual take action in their community. Tell us why you want to help.
The first phase of Diabetes HOW will work to improve the quality of life for children with diabetes, focusing on:
- Improving nutrition and lifestyle education offered to children in school
- Increasing physical activity of children
- Educating children and families on healthy living
- Training teachers and community leaders how to support children with diabetes
A great example of a diabetes champion with a winning model for children is Dr. Yvonne Sanders-Butler, an elementary school principal in Lithonia, Georgia. When she first started working at Browns Mill Elementary, she was astonished to see how the students' eating habits and lack of physical activity were affecting their performance in the classroom. Soon after, she started the "Healthy Kids, Smart Kids" program, working closely with students, parents and school staff to:
- Make health education part of curricula at all grade levels, requiring PE for students and using lessons from all subject areas (i.e., math, history, science) to teach healthy behaviors;
- Provide more balanced school meals (breakfast and lunch) that meet the USDA nutrition standards and contain less sugar;
- Allow healthy snacks and drinks in the vending machines;
- Offer a "Worksite Wellness" program to teachers and staff, including nutrition education and opportunities to engage in physical activity; and
- Encourage students to take their lessons home with them and educate their parents in making meals that are both low in sugar and high in nutrients.
As a result of Dr. Sanders-Butler's efforts, the "Healthy Kids, Smart Kids" program has reached more than 20,000 students in her community and the school saw: disciplinary and counseling referrals drop by 28 and 23 percent, respectively; a 15 percent improvement in reading and math scores; 30 percent fewer trips to the nurse's office; a 50 percent increase in daily physical activity among students; and an increase in applications to attend the school because of its healthy environment.
Tell us about initiatives taking place in your community that others can learn from. Change starts with you.
The Diabetes HOWTM Coalition will kick off with a Summit on October 20-21, 2008 in Brussels, Belgium. This Summit will bring together the Diabetes HOW? board members, as well as other key diabetes and public health experts, to discuss and set an agenda on how communities around the world can improve care, achieve better outcomes, and address unmet needs for people who are living with and at risk for diabetes. Learn more about the Summit from Paul Madden's Summit blog.
The action we take at the community level today is critical for creating global change tomorrow. Together we can help each other build success and make an impact. Change starts with you.
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Last Updated: Tuesday December 08, 2009 11:34:21
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