Sixteenth Annual Diabetes Wellness Expo Nov. 14

Picture of glucose meter and lancelet surrounded by fresh apples
Glucose meter surrounded by fresh apples

DOVER – Nearly 80,000 Delawareans have diabetes and an additional 84,600 people have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, lower-limb amputations, heart disease and stroke. The disease requires extensive medical monitoring and costly, lifelong treatment. However, the health impacts of the disease can be managed through healthier lifestyle choices and self-management of medications so people can enjoy a higher quality of life.

More than 50 exhibitors and screeners will showcase health services, supplies and programs to Delawareans with diabetes at the 16th Annual Diabetes Wellness Expo, to be held Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Dover Downs Conference Center. The free event, organized by the Delaware Diabetes Coalition (DDC), the Division of Public Health (DPH) and other partners, will bring together health care facilities, diabetes-related organizations and businesses to promote self-management and healthier lifestyles for people with diabetes and prediabetes.

The Expo includes educational presentations on: diabetes/prediabetes management, medication adherence, eating healthy, A1C control and the benefits of exercise. Blood sugar, blood pressure, foot care, eye exams and other screenings and tests are available. Free flu shots will also be provided at the Expo. A box lunch including a gourmet sandwich, fruit and beverage will be provided on a first come, first-served basis.

Overweight and obesity are major contributing factors for developing diabetes. In Delaware, 20.8 percent of adults who report being obese have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 3 percent of adults who report normal weights. People with pre-diabetes are at risk for developing type 2 (often called adult onset) diabetes, but they can significantly reduce that risk by increasing physical activity and eating a healthier diet. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse estimates that between 90 percent and 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2.

The 2016 Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) provides information about compliance with recommendations for people with diabetes:

  • 57 percent say they check their blood glucose (sugar) levels one or more times per day. The recommended frequency is three times a day for most diabetic adults.
  • 33 percent see their doctor four or more times a year. An additional 35 percent say they see their doctor two or three times a year.
  • 75 percent of people with diabetes had an eye exam in which their pupils were dilated during the past year.
  • 77 percent said a health professional had checked their feet for sores or irritations one or more times in the past year.
  • Nearly half (47.2 percent) of all adults diagnosed with diabetes say they have taken a course or class in how to manage diabetes.

For more information, please call the Delaware Diabetes Coalition at 302-388-9728 or Delaware’s Division of Public Health’s Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program at 302-744-1020. You can also learn more about diabetes programs and resources at http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/diabetes.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Scholarships Support Higher Education For Young Adults With Diabetes

DOVER – The Delaware Diabetes Coalition in collaboration with the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is currently accepting scholarship applications for the 2017-2018 school year, from high school seniors who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The scholarship program, established in 2008, provides much-needed financial assistance to youth living with this chronic disease.

“Living with diabetes isn’t always easy for teenagers or their family,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Between keeping their diabetes under control, managing schoolwork and after-school activities, recreational play, stress and all the other daily life issues a teenager must cope with, it can be challenging. Additionally, families often face ongoing medical expenses related to their conditions. This scholarship program is an important tool to help alleviate the financial burden facing families and assist these young people in furthering their dreams.”

Eligible applicants must be residents of Delaware, currently enrolled as high school seniors, have diabetes, a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and plan to pursue education in an accredited higher education program. The student is required to write a 500-word essay entitled: “How Diabetes Has Impacted My Life Choices.” Two letters of support from non-family members are also required.

Two $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually. The scholarship is payable to the institution the student will be attending. For application criteria, procedures and the application form, visit www.dediabetescoalition.org. Awardees are required to attend the Delaware Diabetes Wellness Expo, which will be held at Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 2016 scholarship recipients, Mary Lemma of Clayton and Clinton Rumley of Milford, say they are grateful for the scholarships.

“With the help of the coalition, I was propelled one step further so I can achieve my goal of becoming a health care professional, and to work towards a cure of Juvenile Diabetes”, said Mr. Rumley, Lake Forest High School graduate attending Delaware Technical and Community College. “This scholarship helped me with the costs of college and reminded me to be thankful, even for my type 1 diabetes,” said Miss Lemma, a Smyrna High School graduate attending the University of Delaware.

The deadline for applications with all required backup documentation is May 1, 2017. Notification of awards will be made no later than June 15, 2017. Submit all documents by email to: info@dediabetescoalition.org or call 302-388-9728 with any questions.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Fifteenth Annual Diabetes Wellness Expo Set for Nov. 1, 2016

Dover – Approximately 80,000 Delawareans have diabetes, the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, lower-limb amputations, heart disease and stroke. But the health impacts of the disease can be managed through healthier lifestyle choices and self-management of medications.

That’s why more than 50 exhibitors will showcase health services, supplies and programs to Delawareans with diabetes at the Diabetes Wellness Expo, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Dover Downs Conference Center, in Dover. The expo will bring together healthcare facilities, diabetes-related organizations and businesses to provide an opportunity for people at risk for, or with, diabetes to access to the most up-to-date services, products and information. Health professionals and caregivers benefit as well.

The focus of this year’s event, organized by the Delaware Diabetes Coalition, Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) and other partners, is on the impact of the disease on the feet and dental health of diabetics. Free dental and foot exams will be offered, and the keynote speaker will be Dr. Susan Pugliese DDS, RN, General Practice Dentistry Program Director for Christiana Care Health Systems.

Remarks will also be provided by Delaware Senator Bethany Hall-Long, and DPH Director, Dr. Karyl Rattay

“Since DPH established the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program in 1998, our staff has worked hard to improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes, and preventing it among those who don’t have diabetes,” says Dr. Rattay. “We have implemented interventions at the State level to address the burden of diabetes in Delaware by improving health system design, access to care, and self-management skills. We’re grateful to the many partners who work with us on battling this life altering disease.”

Obesity and diabetes are rising in Delaware like mirror images. That’s why we call them the “twin epidemics.” Obesity among Delawarean adults increased 45.5 percent in the past decade, from 21.1 percent in 2004 to 30.7 percent in 2014. And the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among Delawarean adults increased 58.6 percent in the past decade, from 7.0 percent in 2004 to 11.1 percent in 2014.

Diabetes requires extensive medical monitoring and costly, lifelong treatment. According to the Burden of Diabetes in Delaware 2014 Update, the American Diabetes Association estimates that the total cost burden of diabetes in Delaware was $860 million in 2012.

The Diabetes Wellness Expo 2016 is FREE and includes educational presentations on diabetes/prediabetes management, services, resources and tips on controlling the disease. Screenings include blood sugars, blood pressure, foot care, eye exams and other diabetes related tests. Free flu shots will be provided at the expo. The public is urged to participate and learn more about diabetes self-management for themselves or loved ones with diabetes. A box lunch, including a gourmet sandwich, fruit and beverage will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.

For more information, call the Delaware Diabetes Coalition at 302-388-9728 or Delaware’s Division of Public Health’s Diabetes and Heart Disease Prevention and Control Program at 302-744-1020. For information on diabetes in Delaware visit http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/diabetes.html.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Delaware Receives First Ever State-Level Health Champion Award From American Diabetes Association

NEW CASTLE – The Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Public Health (DPH) has been awarded a Health Champion Designation by the American Diabetes Association for instilling wellness in its worksite culture. Delaware is the first state-level office in the country to win the inaugural award. The Health Champion Designation recognizes companies and organizations that inspire and encourage organizational well-being and is part of the Association’s Wellness Lives HereSM initiative. Successful applicants met healthy living criteria in three categories: nutrition and weight management, organizational well-being, and encouraging physical activity.

“We are honored to be recognized as a Health Champion,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director. “Employee wellness initiatives encourage healthy lifestyles to prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and several cancers. It is important for the Division of Public Health to model the practices and healthy lifestyles that we promote to the public.”

“This is truly exciting news, and an honor for the state’s public health agency to receive this designation,” said Rita Landgraf, Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Services. “We appreciate the Association’s recognition of our efforts to improve not only health on a statewide level, but within our own agency.”

“It is with great pride that we acknowledge the focus towards employee wellness that the Delaware Division of Public Health exemplifies,” said Jennifer Fassbender, Director of Wellness and Community Partnerships for the Association. “Providing a culture of wellness for employees is not only the ‘right thing to do’, but benefits the employer with a more engaged and productive workforce. The American Diabetes Association applauds the efforts of Delaware.”

Examples of DPH policies and activities that qualified it for the Healthy Champion Designation include:
• Producing a guide, titled Healthier Food and Snacks for Meetings, Seminars, and Catered Events.
• Allowing employees to wear ‘active wear’ clothing when staff have no scheduled meetings with vendors or outside meetings in exchange for at least 30 minutes of physical activity during the workday (ie: walking during lunch break)
• Placing posters throughout building to encourage healthy activities such as taking the stairs/providing additional health information including ADA brochures and resources
• Encouraging/permitting employees to stand at their desks and use stationary foot pedals/standing desk/active desks, etc.
• Forming walking clubs
• Adopting a smoke-free workplace policy (state policy)
• Integrating health and wellness information into employee communications such as the internal newsletter

An estimated 70,000 adult Delawareans have diabetes. The prevalence of Delaware adults diagnosed with diabetes more than doubled from 4.9 percent in 1991 to 11.1 percent in 2013, and the state rate mirrors the national trend. Severely overweight and obese individuals risk developing pre-diabetes or diabetes, especially if they have a family history of the disease.

For more information about healthy lifestyles, visit healthydelaware.org.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. The Division of Public Health (DPH), a division within DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. For the past 75 years, its mission has been to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. To learn more about the organization and Wellness Lives Here, go to www.diabetes.org/wellnessliveshere.


Diabetes Prevention Program Highlighted in Delaware

CDC Director Thomas Frieden joins Delaware stakeholders at roundtable discussion.

 WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, the YMCA of Delaware convened a group of state and national leaders, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden, Governor Jack Markell and U.S. Representative John Carney (D-Del.) at a roundtable discussion in Wilmington to discuss the impact of type 2 diabetes in Delaware and across the nation and how the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is helping to reduce diabetes rates nationwide at the Central Downtown YMCA.

At the event, YMCA of the USA and the YMCA of Delaware highlighted the good work Delaware is doing to prevent type 2 Diabetes, and highlighted Sen. Tom Carper’s (D-Del.) efforts to prevent diabetes and encourage Medicare and Medicaid coverage of evidence-based diabetes prevention programs like the Y’s.

“It’s going to take a coordinated approach where the public and private sector work with community-based organizations like the Y to reduce its impact,” said Matt Longjohn, MD. MPH, YMCA of the USA’s National Health Officer. “The Y thanks Senator Carper for his support in working to ensure coverage of this important program. Ys nationwide look forward to working with Congress, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others to make this program accessible to as many people as possible.”

 Other participants included Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf; Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay; Dr. Michael Rosenthal, Chair of Family and Community Medicine at Christiana Care Health System; Dr. Stephen Permut, American Medical Association Board of Trustees; representatives from YMCA of the USA and participants from the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, which is part of the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, helps adults at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes reduce their risk for developing the disease by taking steps that will improve their overall health and well-being. Research by the National Institutes of Health has shown that programs like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program can reduce the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, and 71 percent in adults over the age of 60.

“We are pleased that the YMCA in Delaware’s success and progress with the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, coupled with Senator Carper’s advocacy, made the YMCA of Delaware a focal point for this critical national issue,” said Deborah Bagatta-Bowles, CEO of the YMCA in Delaware. 

The YMCA of Delaware is part of a 17 community demonstration project to show that an evidence-based prevention program delivered by a community-based organization can lower incidence of type 2 diabetes and reduce medical costs incurred by Medicare. If successful, the program could become a model for how the nation’s largest payer of health care claims reimburses community-based organizations as providers of evidence-based preventive services.

In these 17 communities, the Y is offering the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention at no cost to 10,000 qualifying Medicare enrollees over the next three years. The initiative is expected to save Medicare an estimated $4.2 million over three years and $53 million over six years. The project is funded through a Health Care Innovation Award from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

Senator Carper recently supported coverage of programs that are part of the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program by Medicare and Medicaid by offering an amendment to a bill repealing and replacing the current Medicare physician payments system so that physician payment rates are not subject to annual cuts.  The amendment was withdrawn in exchange for a commitment by the Congressional Budget Office to prioritize scoring the potential cost-savings to Medicare and Medicaid of diabetes prevention programs like the Y’s.  While the amendment was not ultimately voted on, the Senator’s effort builds bi-partisan support for the program with his Senate colleagues and may help to pave the way for eventual passage.

“We all know that obesity and diabetes are two of the main drivers of poor health and increasing health care costs in our country,” Sen. Carper said. “If we do not rein in the growth of obesity and diabetes, this may be the first generation of Americans with a shorter life span than earlier generations.  To get this epidemic under control, we need to ensure that we are supporting a full range of therapies and programs, like the YMCA’s program, that might help lower our country’s obesity rates and better prevent chronic diseases like diabetes.”

Over the past several years, the Y has worked with CDC to expand the National Diabetes Prevention Program.   Currently, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program is offered in more than 700 locations in 39 states

“Prevention is critical to reducing the nation’s healthcare costs and helping people live longer, more productive lives,” said Congressman Carney.  “Eating healthier and getting more physical activity greatly reduces someone’s risk of developing diabetes and many other chronic diseases.  The key is getting people the information early and providing them with the support to make real progress.  We had a good discussion, and I’m looking forward to continuing our work with both state and national partners to help Delawareans fight this disease.”

“We know that we can be effective in preventing diabetes for people at high risk by helping them make lifestyle changes, including improved nutrition, increased physical activity and weight loss,” said Governor Jack Markell. “The National Diabetes Prevention Program provides another opportunity to help make Delaware a safer and healthier place, building on efforts like our improved trails for walking or biking, and our smoking ban on state property.”

 “Today, about 70,000 Delawareans are living with diabetes, with the trend rising dramatically from 7.6 percent of Delaware adults in 2003 to 9.6 percent in 2012,” Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. “This reality, coupled with the fact that Delaware’s population is aging faster than that of the nation as a whole, makes it even more critical that we find ways to prevent and control diabetes in Delaware.”

By 2030, one-third of Delaware residents will be 60 or older and the state also is projected to have the ninth-highest proportion of people age 65 and older among all states.

 “We must focus more on prevention and on healthy lifestyles throughout the lifespan,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay.  “Starting with young children and educating them on healthy eating and physical activity, and evolving the supports throughout their lifetime.”

 The Y is committed to making the program available to everyone who meets program criteria in communities offering the program and is working with CDC and others to bring more payers and program providers to the table.  To date, more than 15,000 individuals have completed or attended at least one session of the program, and participants have attained an average of nearly 5 percent weight loss.