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NMSU Extension Service to conduct screenings at Diabetes Wellness Day

If current trends continue, as many as one in three American adults may have diabetes by the year 2050, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That would be a staggering increase over the current estimate of nearly 24 million, but many agencies and organizations are helping people learn how to prevent and manage the condition.

Karim Martinez, interim program director and home economist with the Doņa Ana County Extension Office, staffs a table at last year's Diabetes Wellness Day in Las Cruces. (Photo courtesy of June Donohue, Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach)

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, which has long been involved in broad diabetes education outreach, will once again be participating in annual Diabetes Wellness Day activities in Las Cruces.

Now in its sixth year, the program is from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church at 225 W. Griggs Ave.

The public is invited to attend the event, which will include scheduled presentations by several health professionals, displays of diabetes management products and information tables.

Lourdes Olivas, a program coordinator in NMSU's Department of Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, will staff one of the NMSU Extension tables. She'll promote NMSU Extension's "Keep Moving, Keep Healthy with Diabetes" program and conduct diabetes screening using A1c, total cholesterol, and blood glucose tests. Test results will be available to attendees of an introductory KMKH class session, scheduled for Tuesday evening and Saturday of the following week.

"The 'Keep Moving, Keep Healthy with Diabetes' program is a series of classes promoting physical activity as a way for diabetics and those at risk to become healthier," Olivas said. "At the first class session, we will introduce the basic concepts and also distribute support materials, including resistant bands." KMKH will also be offered in Doņa Ana, Luna, Grant and San Juan counties during spring 2011.

According to Carol Turner, NMSU Extension food and nutrition specialist, assessment of KMKH "has shown an improvement in blood glucose levels, blood pressure and HDL cholesterol levels in those individuals who participate in this three-month program."

Representing the Doņa Ana County Extension Office will be Karim Martinez, an interim program director and home economist. Her displays will include general diabetes information materials published by Extension, available in Spanish as well as English; specific information about Kitchen Creations, a cooking school for people with diabetes and their families; a display about the sugar and fat content of some commonly consumed packaged foods; and information about food safety and emergency preparedness for diabetics.

"Diabetes Wellness Day is really a one-stop shop for Las Cruces-area people with diabetes to learn more about it," Martinez said. "You get to make contact with most of the diabetes organizations in the community and will hopefully go away inspired to take advantage of the support network that exists."

The Las Cruces Diabetes Wellness Day is sponsored by Southern New Mexico Diabetes Outreach and the Doņa Ana Diabetes Action Coalition. June Donohue, executive assistant for SNMDO, said at least a dozen agencies and organizations that offer diabetic services will be represented this year.

Participants are encouraged to register early to assure a seat. The $12 fee, which includes lunch, can be offset by scholarships. Spanish and American Sign Language translation services will be provided. For more information and to register by phone, call 575-522-0289.

Diabetes Wellness Day comes during National Diabetes Month, recently proclaimed by President Obama. A host of national and local organizations have ramped up to promote diabetes awareness and prevention and to advocate increased physical exercise, weight loss and nutritious food choices.

For more information about NMSU Cooperative Extension Service's diabetes outreach programming, visit the website at http://ehe.nmsu.edu/diabetes.html