By PAT MELGARES
K-State Research and Extension News Service
MANHATTAN – Kansas State University will be offering a self-paced, online series of its popular Dining with Diabetes program to help address the health concerns of a disease that affects 1 in 9 Kansas adults.
Christina Holmes, a family and consumer sciences specialist for K-State Research and Extension’s southeast regional office, said the first of five weekly classes is scheduled for May 1.
Online registration is due by April 26, and costs $25.
“The classes incorporate five sessions, so in the month of May, we’ll have a session that opens each week,” Holmes said. “Individuals have the opportunity to take the classes at their own pace; you can sit down and do it all in one afternoon, or maybe you choose to do it one evening after work.”
The courses cover the basics of meal planning, carbohydrate counting, portion control, reading labels and physical activity.
“We don’t only want to provide education, but we also want to become a support system for individual in making lifestyle choices and changes related to diabetes,” Holmes said.
“It’s important to understand when you sign up that you won’t have a live instructor because you will be taking the classes on your own time and at your convenience. Still, for those attending in the virtual format, they can contact the instructor afterwards and still have a dialogue to brainstorm solutions to issues that they may encounter.”
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports that in 2020 – the most recent year for which data is available – approximately 1 in 9 Kansas adults (11.1%), or 245,000 people, reported being diagnosed with diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes costs Kansans $2.4 billion per year in direct medical expenses and indirect costs; and for those who are hospitalized for diabetes-related conditions, the average hospital stay is four days.
Nationally, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The ADA also says that one dollar out of every four in U.S. health care costs is spent on caring for people with diabetes.
“There is a high percentage of people that are at risk for, or have pre-diabetes, that are not aware of it,” Holmes said. “This class could be for someone who may not currently have diabetes, but wants to learn more about or want to learn how to make lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of the disease.”
More information also is available at local extension offices in Kansas.