Diabetes: A Family Matter

The Toolkit: Introduction

Diabetes: A Family Matter Program


This program provides users with materials, activities, and ideas about ways to approach healthy lifestyles and tackle diabetes prevention in Appalachian communities. Constraints in many Appalachian areas mean fewer physicians, specialists, medical experts, and health care services are available. Many residents lack or have inadequate health insurance for some health care needs. The problems of overweight and obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and diabetes are of great concern. The program’s toolkit focuses on active lifestyles, healthy eating, and diabetes prevention and care management from family and community viewpoint.

While all forms of diabetes are of concern, this toolkit mainly focuses on type 2 diabetes. The toolkit provides ways to increase healthy lifestyles and prevent or stop the spread of diabetes and other chronic illnesses. It suggests ways to manage the disease and delay or prevent serious complications. Diabetes educators or other health professionals can use the toolkit to enlist local volunteers and help community individuals and families. As the toolkit materials and activities are reviewed, ideas about the best ways to use them locally can be decided.

Knowledge about local traditions, usual ways of life, and diabetes management has been used to develop ideas included in this program and toolkit. These materials are primarily intended for use in rural places of Appalachia. A review of printed and online diabetes education materials has shown that they are mostly focused for those more closely linked to suburban or urban places. Materials that address rural people and include strong ideas about family are often not available. While this toolkit is meant for use with rural Appalachian people, it may still be of use in other regions that share similar cultural patterns. The toolkit may also be of use in suburban or urban centers that serve people that are from Appalachia.

The Diabetes: A Family Matter program and toolkit provides materials and strategies to focus on health promotion, disease prevention, diabetes risks, and diabetes self-management that can be adapted to the unique community needs of those living in the Appalachian region. The use of local teams and leadership, volunteers, and a train-the-trainer model can be used to create a local program to address healthy lifestyles and diabetes prevention. These tools and ideas are intended to be adapted to meet local needs. If a diabetes coalition or a local diabetes support group already exists then this is a good place to share information about this program and toolkit. As you work with others, see if you can find ways to use this program to build a healthier community and a strong diabetes prevention program.