Classes Underway at New Healthy Eatonville Place

140531_222Healthy Eatonville Place (HEP), a unique center for nutrition and cooking classes, diabetes education and screenings, and healthy living programs for all ages, marked its grand opening on May 31 with music and dancing as well as a community walk and bike ride.

Its seven-week Diabetes Education Program, designed to teach those with diabetes how to maintain proper nutrition, medication, exercise and monitoring, has been meeting for several weeks and has 13 participants—about twice as many as expected. In addition, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program starts later this month.

In July, Hebni Nutrition Consultants will launch an eight-week program at HEP featuring healthy cooking demonstrations and nutritional education to Eatonville residents.

Supported with a million dollars in funding from Florida Hospital (FH), the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) and Sanofi Aventis, and with in-kind support and expertise from Healthy Central Florida (HCF), the YMCA, Hebni Nutrition Consultants, the Town of Eatonville and others, HEP represents a community response to a startling health study sponsored by HCF. (HCF is a community-based initiative founded by FH and WPHF to help local communities embrace health and wellness.)

The study, commissioned two years ago, revealed Eatonville residents had a rate of diabetes of 24.2%–triple the national average. This dramatic news inspired the dream of a place where residents could come for help to prevent and manage diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Eatonville residents played key roles in establishing HEP ranging from choosing the name to helping select programs that will be provided.

Dr. Richard Pratley, Director of the Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute and chief researcher on the project, said staff members will also be conducting a study to see why the rate is so high in Eatonville. “We’ve identified a large problem with diabetes in Eatonville,” said Dr. Pratley. “We’re committed to changing the face of diabetes through further research to determine why there are the health disparities in Eatonville, providing education about how residents can control their diabetes and programs to teach at-risk residents how to prevent diabetes.”

For more information about the center, call 407-622-2525.