According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 30.3 million Americans are diabetic with 1.25 million being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as of 2015. As obesity rates continue to rise, with an estimated 84.1 million Americans being considered prediabetic, there is a need to raise awareness toward prevention efforts for Type 2 diabetes. Windom Area Hospital works alongside community organizations to increase awareness of the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and promote community resources available to both diagnosed diabetics and those at risk for developing diabetes.
The idea to hold a local awareness event was brought to the Windom community in 2016 with an open call for stakeholders and businesses to offer resources for diabetics in the community. Windom Hy-Vee, River Valley Fitness, Windom Area Hospital, Windom Area Health & Fitness and the Lions Club of Windom answered the call and offered education and information to Hy-Vee shoppers. This event also featured free blood glucose screenings, samples of diabetic-friendly recipes, products and education about how to prevent and manage diabetes. The first year was an overwhelming success, with an estimated 150 shoppers receiving blood glucose screenings and learning more about diabetes.
Three years later, community members can find the same organizations offering their expertise, tips and samples of diabetic-friendly recipes at Windom Hy-Vee on the first Saturday in November. Shoppers approach Hy-Vee dietitian Linda Carruthers as early as June to inquire about when the event will be held. Carruthers sees the value of collaboration in small communities. “This is a great opportunity to show the partnership between different organizations to provide very valuable information on diabetes to our community,” she said.
In 2018, approximately 100 blood glucose screenings were offered to shoppers upon entering the store, prompting robust conversation at individual stations throughout the store.
“It’s been a perfect event to reach out and connect with populations who are at increased risk for diabetes in our community that otherwise might not walk through our hospital doors,” said Priscilla Comnick, Windom Area Hospital’s certified diabetic educator. “There’s been interest specifically from members of the Hispanic population in learning more about their increased risk factors and how they can incorporate simple lifestyle changes at home.”