THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Diabetes Prevention Program
By Penny Fitch
Health can be measured in many ways. A person’s age, physical ability and emotional maturity are considered when evaluating their fitness. One most important and obvious measure is how much they weigh. Over the past 10 years, the United States population has become more overweight than at any time in our history and diabetes is near epidemic proportions.
On January 10th, at the Edward King House Senior Center, five people graduated from a year-long Diabetes Prevention Program. They lost and maintained a total of 80 pounds and increased their weekly physical activity. At the end of the program, they collectively maintained 25 hours of activity each week. That was accomplished through walking, yard work, golfing and participating in exercise programs like yoga and stretch and tone classes.
The Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifestyle change plan that allows each participant to eat whatever they choose and count only a set amount of fat grams and calories. At first this is a tedious task but after a few weeks it becomes easier and a part of each meal. The benefit is stepping on the scale at weigh in before each class and discovering your weight steadily going “down”. The group support and guided lessons help with learning how to manage healthy eating, stress, discouragement, problem solving, social eating and staying motivated.
The group all began January 2018 weighing less than they did on January 2017. This was a first for all of them and a wonderful way to begin their New Year.
For many expecting mothers, having a baby is an exciting time to celebrate; but for those who do not have the resources and support needed, it can be an overwhelming experience. In order to support the mothers in our community, the Newport Health Equity Zone, a place-based initiative focusing on mitigating health disparity in the North End and Broadway neighborhoods, will be holding a Community Baby Shower. This event supports expecting and new mothers by providing them with resources as well as the companionship and advice that is so important during this time.
In the spirit of a traditional baby shower, this event connects parents with each other while offering educational presentations, resource tables, and some self-care to pamper our moms! We have received health and beauty donations by local organizations so our families can take home items that will help along the way. In addition to pampering chair massages, we will be raffling off additional items.
Light refreshments will be served.
Our Baby Shower will be held on Saturday January 20th (storm date January 27th) at Pell Elementary School in Newport, RI from 2pm-4pm.
Eating healthy is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change. It’s all about feeling great and having more energy. Making changes to how you eat is not easy but you can do it just by making a few small changes. Start by eating smaller portions throughout the day. This can help prevent you from getting too hungry. Enjoy your food by eating slowly and avoid overeating. Try to limit fast food and junk food. Remember you don’t have to give up everything you enjoy. Treat yourself occasionally.
One of the strongest ways to enhance your families health and happiness is through civic engagement. Having your voice heard and advocating for change can make large differences in the lives of individuals and communities. Have you ever thought about applying for a position on boards and commissions? How about attending local meetings with HEZ’s own civic engagement advocates? If you haven’t before but are looking to see real change then you are exactly the person Newport needs. Resident voices are SO important and using it can lead to changes in food access, healthy housing, safer streets, and much more. If you are interested in becoming a community champion in the new year, please contact Elizabeth Fuerte at 401-835-4235.
Last month in our grandma group, we discussed the importance of breastfeeding in our community. We learned so much more than we anticipated! Many of our moms don’t receive the support they need from friends and family. We learned that support through encouragement, sharing responsibility, and self-care is necessary to make our moms feel safe and secure while breastfeeding. Resources were shared with all our families so that everyone can have access to the help they need when the time comes. Breastfeeding is intimidating to many mothers, which is understandable. However, we aimed to alleviate some of the worry and confusion that sometimes accompanies this loving act! If you or someone you know is interested in receiving resources related to breastfeeding please contact Latisha Michel at 401-846-5263