The Aetna Foundation has awarded the Nutrition and Dietetics Department in the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida $9,000 to support grocery store-based diabetes health fairs in Jacksonville’s high-risk populations.
“The Aetna Foundation has found that the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at the University of North Florida has been innovative in reaching out and educating the public,” said Tom Nasby, market head, Aetna Network Management. “We believe that by taking the concept of providing health fairs in local grocery stores for people in our community with type 2 diabetes, the department will once again be successful in achieving its goals.”
The UNF Department of Nutrition and Dietetics has proposed a community intervention program targeting the screening and management of type 2 diabetes. The project includes conducting two health fairs at local grocery stores in high-risk areas. The grocery stores will be in close proximity to major medical centers where individuals often go to fill prescription and purchase food items for their prescribed diet.
“Aetna’s support of our Nutrition and Dietetics Department means a great deal to me, our faculty and our students,” said Dr. Pam Chally, dean of UNF’s Brooks College of Health. “The opportunity for students to interact with the community and offer diabetes screenings falls directly in line with our mission.”
The emphasis of the health fair is to screen for diabetes, improve health literacy and promote diabetes management in high-risk populations. The objective is to provide participants with free diabetes screenings, body fat analysis and risk assessment; diabetes education and counseling on management of diabetes and weight control; grocery store tours to assist with label reading and appropriate food choices; and food demonstrations on delicious and easy healthy recipes and foods.
The Aetna funds will be used for the following:
• Educational materials and handouts on diabetes
• Glucose testing supplies
• Pedometers for attendees
• Culinary-trained graduate assistants to prepare and demonstrate carbohydrate-consistent recipes
• Food for demonstrations and tasting
Type 2 diabetes is a disorder of metabolism characterized by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 23.6 million people in the United States have type 2 diabetes.
In 2006, the United States spent an estimated $22.9 billion on direct medical care of diabetes and its complications. Type 2 diabetes can be delayed and effectively managed through proper nutrition and regular exercise. Choosing a healthy lifestyle, knowing how to seek medical care and taking advantage of preventive measures require that people understand and use health information.