The director of the Mullens Opportunity Center recently attended a conference on diabetes in Nashville, Tenn.
Charlene Cook took part in the Appalachian Diabetes Coalition Conference in late March.
The four-day event included a variety of speaker presentations and information sessions.
“They showed you what’s going on in other states (to battle diabetes), and they shared their success stories,” Cook observed. “It gave you ideas on programs that you can apply to your own program.”
Cook did a presentation on the importance of exercise and weight loss.
The MOC has a Shed Unwanted Pounds (SUP) program. “We encourage exercise with the weight loss program,” she commented. “We have Zumba, walking and line dancing at the MOC. We’re able to use these programs to make people more aware of diabetes.”
West Virginia ranks No. 3 among the states in obesity. “That’s a factor in Type 2 diabetes,” she noted, “and Type 2 diabetes is on the rise nationally.
As little as five to seven percent loss of total body weight can be beneficial to diabetics, she pointed out.
“People aren’t exercising enough,” she said. “That’s why I promote exercise here.
“We had people walking here, like (86-year-old) Joe Parsons,” Cook commented. “I thought we ought to start promoting it and let people know they can walk or line dance here if they don’t have a place to go.
“The whole confernece was very interesting to me,” she said. “It’s intersting to see how they’re reaching out to people.”
The healthy lifestyles program at the MOC is under the umbrella of Marshall University.
MU’s Dr. Richard Crespo was one of the speakers at the conference. He is the project director for the Appalachian Diabetes Control and Translation Project.
Sheila Plogger, project coordinator for the ADCTP, was also a speaker.
The partnership is supported by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. It is managed by the Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health at MU.