The overarching goal of the Northeast Louisiana Regional Diabetes Prevention Collaborative Adolescent Initiative
is to reduce the incidence of Type II Diabetes in communities in Rural Northeast Louisiana by increasing access to preventive health care services and promoting community awareness of the need to make lasting lifestyle changes that improve nutrition and increase physical activity. Hospital District No. 1-A of Richland Parish is the grantee for Louisiana Region A. Richland Parish Hospital in Delhi is partnering with LSU AgCenter, Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, and West Feliciana Parish Hospital to make the grant possible.
The program is funded through the Delta States Rural Development Network Grant. The grant funds organizations in the eight Delta States: Louisiana, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, to address unmet local health care needs and prevalent health disparities through the development of new and innovative projects in rural Delta communities.
With parental consent, student’s screenings include height, weight, blood pressure and venous blood draw to measure A1C (a two-three month average of glucose levels). The program strives to promote community and individual awareness of the need to make lasting lifestyle changes that improve nutrition and increase physical activity to prevent diabetes. The target population is students in grades 9-12 in Franklin, Caldwell, East Carroll, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Rapides, Richland, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Union, Washington, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn Parishes.
Program coordinators are assigned to regions in the state to work with one selected school in each parish. According to program officials, identification of pre-diabetes is an opportunity to improve health, because progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. With healthy lifestyle changes-such as eating healthy foods, including physical activity in the daily routine and maintaining a healthy weight-blood sugar levels may be able to be brought back to normal.
Based on the findings students are encouraged to participate in the pre-diabetes program. The pre-diabetes program includes nutrition education and improving physical activity through small groups, phone apps, and health messaging through after school texts and Facebook. Other components include establishing a community garden in each region, working with 4-H clubs in the schools, and assisting schools in establishing a student wellness council.
For more information on the program contact the Grants Office at 318-878-6346.