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Northwest Region Embraces I CAN Prevent Diabetes Program

By Sara Van Offelen,  SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinator, Northwest Minnesota

Rural Minnesotans have higher rates of diabetes than their urban counterparts. So it's no surprise that individuals and communities in the Northwest Region have embraced the I CAN Prevent Diabetes (ICANPD) program offered by Extension in partnership with Essentia Health, Sanford Health, and Tri-County Health Care.

This past year, 87 Northwest Region residents enrolled in ICANPD courses offered in Wadena, Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Mahnomen, Bagley, and Pelican Rapids. The free, 12-month program requires participants to meet with a SNAP-Ed educator once a week for 16 weeks, and then continue with once-a-month check-ins for another eight months.

SNAP-Ed educators help participants learn how to eat healthy foods, add physical activity to their daily routine, manage stress, and overcome their personal barriers to healthier living.

Overall, ICANPD aims to help participants learn how to make lifestyle changes designed to prevent Type 2 diabetes, and some participants, like Pat Lorentz of Wadena, report some dramatic changes. After completing the weekly sessions, Pat lost 12 percent of her weight, nearly double the original goal set by SNAP-Ed Educator Marilyn Hofland.

ICANPD participant Pat Lorentz with two of her grandchildren.
Source: Tri-County Health Care

Besides losing weight, Pat saw her blood sugar levels go down enough for her doctor to take her off pre-diabetes medications. "It is nice when other people notice the weight loss," Pat says, "but the main thing is that I am off my medications and I can tell a difference. I want to be healthy and watch my grandchildren grow up."

I CAN Prevent Diabetes (Individuals and Communities Acting Now to Prevent Diabetes) is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. The course is based on CDC curriculum and NDPP standards, which are proven methods for preventing or delaying onset of Type 2 diabetes.

SNAP-Ed educators continue to spread the word about ICANPD courses in the Northwest Region and look forward to hosting more groups in 2016. New sessions will be posted on Health and Nutrition’s I CAN Prevent Diabetes web page, where you can also learn more about the program.

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