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Diabetes: A Family Matter

The Toolkit: Introduction

“It Takes a Village”

small town America

Diabetes care is generally viewed as a problem that belongs to those with the disease. This program takes the point of view that diabetes is a concern of all people that live in a community. In most rural places, local people are connected to one another. While we may live in different houses, we send our children to similar schools, share the same community agencies, attend many if the same churches, and often work together. We are neighbors. Sometimes other family members live nearby and we see each other often. Many people that live in Appalachia have had the same friends their whole life. Of course, in any town, village or city, there are some people we do not know or know less about than others. But, the truth is, many people that live in Appalachia have deep roots and strong ties. We are a village!

Years ago, when people shared a village, they looked out for one another. A village was usually not a big town or city, but instead a small settlement often in a rural place. A village had homes fairly close to one another, but often distant from other villages. Over time, villages spread across the hills and mountains of Appalachia have grown into larger towns and cities. These sprawling places are at least part of the reason that we are less tied to each other. Yet, many people living in Appalachia stay here because they feel close to the place where they live and the people who live there with them.

The neighborliness that was found in earlier times is harder to find these days. Perhaps it is time to think about the places we live as villages. People in villages work together to get things done!

Many in Appalachia still have great care for one another. But the neighborliness found in earlier times is harder to find these days. Perhaps it is time to begin thinking again about the places we live as villages. People in villages work together to get things done! They look out for one another. They care about what is happening and offer to help. In earlier times, when a disease came to a village everyone was concerned. It often meant that you and members of your family were at risk. In the past, people living in villages worked together to find ways to protect each other and prevent the spread in their family. Well, diabetes has come to our towns and cities! Many are already sick and even more are at great risk! We need to help each other keep from getting this disease.

Diabetes has come to our towns and cities! Many are already have the disease. Even more are at great risk! We can help each other keep from getting this disease.

Our children are gaining too much weight! Children sit too much and do not know how to play actively. Some parents worry about safety and make young children stay inside so they can watch them. Children’s games are much less active than ones their grandparents played. Many young children spend long hours indoors with electronics. They engage their minds rather than their bodies. Many teens cannot run or even climb three flights of stairs. Many do not take part in even modest activity for 30-45 minutes a day. Young adults are having health problems that would be expected in much older people. While people are living longer, too many are living with a poor quality of life.

kid on scales

Researchers tell us that the spread of diabetes and obesity are epidemics! These two things are linked. In other words, the longer we live our lives as overweight or obese, the greater the risks of diabetes. The good news is there are things we can do. Things like getting more active can help! Children need to know which foods to eat often and which ones to eat only once in a while! We can watch portion sizes! We can get our body moving more often and in greater amounts whether we are young or old. Research tells us that what we are eating and our limited activity are making us unhealthy. While it is not easy, what we eat and what we do with our bodies are things most of us can control.

What are we to do? Well, we can work together. We can let others know about things to do. We can talk about ways to prevent diabetes. We can help our families learn about the risks. As a SUGAR Helper you can show your care and concern for your neighbors. You can work with groups of people in your village. Together you can find ways to help children and adults get healthy. We can be part of a village that cares about each other. We can take action! While people outside our villages might give some help, we have to take care of our own!