‘Diabetes Among Friends’ Offers Interactive Sessions

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Tara John providing a food demonstration about sugary beverages at the Salt River Library. Photo provided by Salt RiverLibrary

A new series of sessions for people with diabetes is beginning on August 31. Called Diabetes Among Friends, the five-week peer-based curriculum is open to Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members age 18 and over, tribal employees, people with diabetes and caregivers of people with diabetes.

The series will take place every Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with the last class on September 29.

The classes are presented over Zoom and designed to be interactive.

“We facilitate conversation surrounding topics such as getting to know diabetes, healthy eating, physical activities, medication and wellness,” said Tara John, HHS Diabetes Services Program community health educator. “We’re opening up registration to 30 participants, who will receive a learning kit. The learning kit is a binder that contains all the PowerPoint presentations and handouts we cover in each class.”

The first round of Diabetes Among Friends was offered in June. John said the response to these classes was positive and participants offered great feedback in their evaluations.

The program involved all members of the staff, including the fitness team. Five staff are currently trained to offer this curriculum. By the end of this year, all staff in Diabetes Prevention Services will be trained in the program.

“I liked the colorful slide points and using examples of foods common to Natives. The session was very user-friendly and it was easy to stay focused and involved,” said a participant on June 9.

“My Native Plate” is a colorful tool that is used as a substitute for the glycemic index, which helps people pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates they are consuming.

With My Native Plate, participants can see a visual of a 9-inch plate and learn portion control. One way to do this is to fill half of the plate with vegetables, one quarter with grain or starch and one quarter with protein. A side of fruit can also be added.

This tool shows how to incorporate traditional Native foods such as wild game, beans, nuts, squash and corn into your diet.

“I have always used a standard plate and have always filled the plate, but when you have a smaller plate, you psych-out your mind because it makes you feel like you’re overdoing it, but you’re not. I have been using My Native Plate for a month now and have lost 12 pounds,” said a participant on August 6.

Diabetes Prevention Services also is continuing to offer weekly Zoom group workout classes led by a physical fitness specialist. If you would like to be added to the email list, contact Dion Begay at Dion.Begay@SRPMIC-nsn.gov.

The first of two weeklong Journey to Wellness virtual conferences for youth, provided by Diabetes Prevention Services, will take place September 27-30. Coming up in November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

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