Diabetes Prevention in Teton County
In 2015, the Teton County Health Department took over the diabetes prevention program for Teton County. Formerly administered by the Benefis Teton Medical Center, the Health Department named it Healthy Tracks and assumed responsibility for the program when the BTMC no longer had the staff resources available to manage it. Now in the second year that the Health Department has managed it, the program has seen an increase in participation and some very positive results, based upon a mid year assessment.
The program presents a curriculum developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and funded by a grant from the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to the standard curriculum content, the instructors enrich it with additional information based upon the interests and questions of the participants. The goal of the program is to teach and coach participants as they strive to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The main two elements of this healthy lifestyle are a better awareness and implementation of a nutritional daily diet, and a greater level of physical activity. In order to guide participants to both of these elements, Healthy Tracks presents weekly classroom sessions that discuss healthy eating, and set daily intake targets for calories and fat consumption as well as other key nutritional metrics such as protein and sodium. To help participants become more physically active in a safe manner, Healthy Tracks also offers two instructor-led workout sessions at a local co-op fitness center.
Per the standards defined by the CDC, the program is open for anyone at least 18 years old who is classified as pre-diabetic, which means that they have met specific criteria based upon their Body Mass Index (BMI), and blood glucose levels.
Currently, there are approximately 20 active participants, who collectively have lost 200 pounds since beginning the program in late January, 2016. A key element in this successful weight loss is the daily recording of all food eaten throughout each week. These food diaries are then submitted on a weekly basis, and the program leader provides individual comments and suggestions about the diary. In this manner, participants get continuous feedback and personalized support to help them in their efforts to eat in a healthy, sustainable manner. The weekly classroom sessions will continue through June. In July, the program will transition to monthly meetings, to help participants transition to independent, healthy sustainable lifestyle habits and behaviors.
The workout sessions are open to all program participants at no additional cost, and each workout incorporates a total body warm-up, a cardio component, total body strength training, and stretching cool-down in one hour of continuous movement and activity. The workouts will continue throughout the year, until the annual program ends in December.