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Diabetes rate among Tennessee adults increased

Diabetes rate among Tennessee adults increased

Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 9:34 pm


According to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data the estimated diabetes prevalence rate among Tennessee adults increased by 35 percent between 1993 and 2004. (The Burden of Diabetes in Tennessee: 2007) Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in Tennessee from 1990 to 2000 and the sixth leading cause of death from 2001 to 2004. 

Based upon the average age-adjusted mortality rate from 1999-2004, the western region of Tennessee had the second highest diabetes mortality rate in Tennessee.

There are several risk factors for diabetes including inactivity, obesity, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. In 2003, 30 percent of adult Tennesseans reported not engaging in any leisure time activity during the past 30 days. Twenty five percent were obese with a BMI exceeding 30. Thirty percent of adult Tennesseans had high blood pressure, and 30 percent adult Tennesseans reported high cholesterol.

Less than the targeted 76 percent of diabetic patients in Tennessee had at least one annual dilated eye exam in the last reported year. 

Local health departments provide primary care services for individuals who are not qualified for Tenn Care but do not have private insurance. The Tri-County Community Wellness Initiative Grant  serves as an adjunct to the services that are provided by the local health departments.

In April of 2006, a West Tennessee Community Diabetes Forum was sponsored by the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and held at the University of Tennessee at Martin. A follow up meeting to this forum entitled “Exploring Diabetes Dynamics” was held in July 2006. One consensus coming from the forum and follow up meeting was that a coordinated plan was needed to address lifestyle management and diabetes education in West Tennessee. 

In 2006 a Weakley County Diabetes Coalition was formed and has sponsored several events that address the prevention and management of diabetes.

In 2007 the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Martin applied for a Health Access Grant “Tri-County Community Wellness Initiative” to address the prevention and management of diabetes. This grant was funded for $84,000 and services provided through this grant are being provided in Gibson, Obion and Weakley counties, all three of which have diabetes on their list of community priorities.

In the 2007-08 grant year, more than 160 people have received one-on-one consultation with a registered dietician and many have returned for follow up appointments. Educational material regarding diabetes prevention and management have been made available to the county health departments and footwear in the form of Diabetic Crocs were purchased to be distributed on an “as need” basis through the health departments. Exercise equipment and videos were also made available. Working with the Union City Eye clinic, health professionsals were able to use the grant to provide dilated vision screening for a limited number of diabetic patients. 

The target population for the Tri-County Community Wellness Grant is those individuals who rely on the health department for their primary care, yet anyone who is interested in receiving a one-on-one nutrition consultation can call the county health department to schedule an appointment with the Grant’s Registered Dietician. Health Department patients will get first priority.

Published in The Messenger 11.5.08

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