Taking an active role in managing chronic health conditions

The Issue
Chronic diseases are among the most prevalent, costly and preventable of all health issues. Eighty-two percent of older adults have at least one chronic health condition. Chronic diseases such as diabetes increase the financial burden on the healthcare system. Diabetes is a chronic disease of critical concern. Michigan ranks 22nd out of 50 states in the nation for prevalence of diabetes and 17th nationally for obesity, according to the latest CDC data. More than 10.4 percent of Michigan adults have been diagnosed with diabetes – an estimated 750,000 people. In addition, over 250,000 Michigan adults are estimated to be living with undiagnosed diabetes.
Michigan State University Extension disease prevention and management programs provide participants with strategies to improve the quality of their diets, manage chronic health conditions and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. Access to high-quality and affordable disease prevention and management education programs such as those that MSU Extension provides is essential to saving lives, reducing disabilities and lowering the costs of everyone’s medical care. Since 2013, MSU Extension disease prevention and management programming has reached almost 8,500 Michigan residents.
MSU Extension Action

Michigan State University Extension disease prevention and management programs provide participants with strategies to improve the quality of their diets, manage chronic health conditions and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. Access to high-quality and affordable disease prevention and management education programs such as those that MSU Extension provides is essential to saving lives, reducing disabilities and lowering the costs of everyone’s medical care. In 2016, MSU Extension disease prevention and management programming reached over 4,500 Michigan residents.

The Impact
Participants in MSU Extension’s Dining With Diabetes course learn how to prepare healthy meals, discover the importance of diet and exercise, and gain tools for managing diabetes. Participants sample a variety of healthy foods and take home recipes to further encourage behavior change. Participants report that as a result of the program:
  • 87 percent are confident they can keep their diabetes under control, or help the people they care for keep their diabetes under control.
  • 86 percent cook more often at home.
  • 81 percent fit exercise into their daily routine.

Participants in the National Diabetes Prevention Program discover how making modest lifestyle and behavior changes (such as improving food choices and increasing physical activity to at least 150 minutes a week) can help them lose 5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight. Such changes reduce by 58 percent the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among people at high risk for the disease. MSU Extension has received full recognition from the CDC for their delivery of the program. Full recognition by the CDC is based on participant weight loss, physical activity, attendance and eligibility for the program.

MSU Extension’s Personal Action Toward Health (PATH) program equips participants to face the daily challenges of living with one or more chronic conditions. Participants report that as a result of the program:

  • 52 percent experienced increased confidence in their ability to perform the different tasks and activities needed to manage their health and reduce their need to see a doctor.
  • 53 percent developed greater confidence in keeping physical discomfort or pain from interfering with life.
  • 48 percent experienced decreased pain symptoms.

The Matter of Balance program is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. The program involves eight 2-hour small-group sessions led by a trained facilitator. During the class, participants learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risks at home and exercise to increase strength and balance. Participants report that as a result of the program:

  • 94 percent learned more than one way to reduce falls.
  • 89 percent learned strategies to address concerns about falling so they could continue regular social activities.
  • 74 percent planned to continue to exercise to increase their physical strength.

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