Live Empowered Program Raises Diabetes Awareness

ADA photoThe American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Live Empowered program’s educational presentations are impactful and effective at promoting sustained lifestyle behavior change such as healthier eating and increased physical activity among at-risk communities, according to a recently released program evaluation.

In July 2012, supported by an $ $115,630 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), the ADA launched a Live Empowered program in Eatonville to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and to provide information and resources to help those at risk prevent and/or manage their diabetes.

“These results clearly identified how our work can help change the diabetes landscape and get us closer to our ideal future,” said Pauline Lowe, Director of Programs and Mission for ADA, in Central Florida.

In collaboration with all nine churches in Eatonville, city leaders, and health care providers, Live Empowered–an initiative targeting the African American community through a series of educational workshops focusing on diabetes prevention, management and lifestyle change– operated for 18 months in Eatonville. The goal was to provide resources and education to begin to reduce the incidence and impact of diabetes and diabetes-related complications.

Some important outcomes from the report include:

  • The faith communities served as an effective base for outreach:

In the evaluation, respondents were asked the following question: “who told you or where did you hear about this presentation?” A majority (68.4%) of Live Empowered participants learned about the presentation through their church.

  • The need was there:

A majority (86.3%) of respondents reported attending the workshops because they wanted to learn more about diabetes, whereas 17.7% reported attending the workshop because a family member or friend encouraged them to attend.  Results suggested that a desire to learn more about diabetes is a major inspiration for active participation in the educational presentations.

  • Face-to-face communication is still best:

Participants were asked if they shared the information provided during the presentations with others, including family members, friends, and others in their community. A majority of participants shared information from the presentation with either their family (72.9%), persons at church/community center (71.9%), or a neighbor/friend (68.8%). The results indicated that the Live Empowered presentations provide a viable and effective avenue for increasing diabetes awareness in at-risk communities as participants willingly share information they learned to multiple people in their lives.

  • The program had impact on behavior change:

Participants were asked: “Since the presentation, do you remember the information discussed about diabetes and physical exercise, diabetes and nutrition, diabetes and other health issues, and taking better care of yourself?” A majority of participants reported they retained knowledge from the educational workshops beyond nine months and/or longer, and a large majority of respondents reported retaining knowledge in a variety of areas. The topic of “taking better care of yourself” was reported as the highest knowledge area at 95.8%.

Participants were asked if they exercised more and/or became more physically active since attending the presentations and 69.8% responded yes.

  • People want to eat more fruits and vegetables:

A majority (69.5%) stated they made behavior lifestyle changes to their eating habits and were eating healthier. Among the respondents who incorporated healthier eating habits after the presentation, a noteworthy 98.5% ate more vegetables and/or fruits, and 95.5% ate fewer fast foods and/or fried foods.

  • Healthy Eatonville Place is needed:

Findings suggest that participants are highly motivated to attend the presentations due to a desire to learn more about diabetes

Eatonville’s reported diabetes rate of 24.2%, noted in a study sponsored by Healthy Central Florida (HCF), ignited an interest in locating funding for and establishing Healthy Eatonville Place (HEP) which opened in the spring of 2014. (HCF is a community-based initiative founded and supported by Florida Hospital and WPHF to help create the healthiest communities in the nation.)

Florida Hospital and the WPHF joined forces to support the opening of Healthy Eatonville Place (HEP).  Their collaboration and contributions, combined with support from other funders and in-kind donations, made the development of the one million dollar HEP possible. HEP is a neighborhood place focused on providing education and increasing awareness on how to keep diabetes under control in order to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications. It offers a variety of services, including comprehensive health screenings, healthy cooking classes and nutrition education, active living coaching, a pre-diabetes program, referrals to doctors, a healthy kids program, diabetes education and support groups, smoking cessation classes, and classes for people suffering from long-term diseases, such as heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

To schedule a visit or learn more about HEP, call 407-622-2525.

Although the ADA grant has been completed, Lisa Portelli, WPHF Program Director for Community Health, said the ADA remains committed to assisting in providing services and referring persons with diabetes or at risk of diabetes to HEP.