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American Diabetes Association hosts Fabulous YOU Gala

Stacy M. Brown | 10/20/2017, 6 a.m.
The American Diabetes Association has scheduled its annual Fabulous YOU gala luncheon for Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the Horseshoe ...
The “Fabulous YOU” program is designed to empower and educate women facing type 2 diabetes, regarding food choices and exercise, as well as to create a sense of community and support. Three particpants from this year’s Fabulous You class (left to right) Annette Smith, Cynthia James and Anne Massey. Courtesy Photo

The American Diabetes Association has scheduled its annual Fabulous YOU gala luncheon for Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.

The third annual event featuring Johns Hopkins Hospital President Dr. Redonda Miller as the keynote speaker is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

“The American Diabetes Association has developed an evidence-based and culturally relevant community-based program to sustainably address the unique needs and challenges of women,” said Tracy Newsome, the director of community health strategies at the Maryland Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. “Fabulous YOU is a nine-month interactive diabetes learning experience for a select cohort of women, culminating in a gala lunch celebration that includes the broader community for a day of education, inspiration and fun.”

Designed to strengthen and educate women with type 2 diabetes, regarding their food choices, to encourage exercise and to create a sense of community and support, the goal of the initiative is to

improve diabetes management for those at high risk or those with poorly controlled diabetes. Outcomes are then measured and evaluated by health officials who engage participants beyond the six-month program through mentoring opportunities aimed to ensure sustained outcomes, according to Newsome.

The three components of the program that focus on improving clinical and behavioral outcomes, as well as the quality of life for participants are:

  1. A diabetes day care serves as orientation and a resource fair to capture biometrics and to gain a commitment for each woman to improve their health.

  2. A health education component also has been designed to provide interactive diabetes learning for one hour each week for 16 weeks. It also includes monthly sessions where topics include “Diabetes and Your Emotions,” “How Activity Helps,” and “You Can Still Eat Your Favorite Foods.”

  3. A mentoring component connects participants to lifestyle coaches who provide basic support in achieving goals and assisting with coping skills, eating out, meal planning and a food and exercise journal.

“The Standards of Medical Care recommended by the American Diabetes Association indicate that changes in diet and exercise can reduce complications of diabetes and improve health,” Newsome said.

Launched in 2015, the Fabulous YOU program has proven very successful in using the group modality to utilize diabetes self-management education and lifestyle activities to aid participants in adopting behavioral changes to enhance their health, Newsome pointed out.

“The program had the goals of reducing weight from 4 to 10 pounds and reducing blood sugar levels by at least a half of a percent,” she said. “The effectiveness of the program is reflected by data that reported 73 percent of the participants achieved the programs’ goal of changes in reduction in weight and 66 percent with improvement in AIC measures. Participants learned in invaluable skills and knowledge that transformed their health behaviors to achieving healthy outcomes.”

According to a recent study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 40 percent of women are mothers with children under 16 years of age living at home and more than 80 percent of women shoulder the main responsibility for taking care of their children’s health.

Currently 12.6 million women in the U.S. have diabetes and more than double that number are at high risk for developing the disease.

Among individuals with diabetes who have had a heart attack, women have lower survival rates and a poorer quality of life than men.

Statistics reveal that women with diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than women without diabetes, and women are at greater risk of blindness from diabetes than men.

Death rates for women aged 25 to 44 years with diabetes are more than three times the rate for women without diabetes.

“Fabulous YOU aims to educate and empower women to make their health a priority which will not only improve their health outcomes but for generations to come,” Newsome said.

For more information about the “Fabulous YOU,” program, visit: www.diabetes.org/fabulousyou