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Class helps prevent diabetes

Essentia Health St. MAry’s and University of Minnesota Extension are partnering to host the class I Can Prevent Diabetes. It begins Sept. 10.

When Essentia Health St. Mary’s took a community needs assessment to determine what the community wants out of a healthcare provider, they found that diabetes education was one of the top priorities.

“Diabetes and pre-diabetes was the No. 1 thing they found” based on options given through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said LeAnn Mouw, director of development with Essentia Health St. Mary’s.

With the success of the University of Minnesota Extension diabetes program last year, the two entities have joined forces this year to provide I Can Prevent Diabetes.

The program begins Sept. 10, and participants can choose from a 9:30 a.m. class and a 6:30 p.m. class, both located in the EMS building conference room. The cost is free, but it is a one-year commitment.

Class instructor will be Extension Nutrition Educator Tracy Baker, who just happened to attend the community needs assessment meeting that was open to the public.

“I think it was almost divine intervention,” Mouw said.

The core classes are 16 weeks, and then the group meets monthly after that to keep on track. The weekly core sessions go over topics such as reading labels, recipes and food tastings, reducing fat, reducing stress, exercise programs, how to plan ahead in situations like dining out or family gatherings and more.

There will also be time for participants to weigh-in, chart progress, document and journal their food intake and physical activity for the week.

The class will also make food suggestions, so that while people may not like food prepared a certain way, this class will give them ideas of different ways to prepare something they might like better.

Volunteer Coordinator Melody Jahnke said the program is open to anyone, regardless of what clinic they go to; this isn’t just for Essentia Health patrons.

Along with the pre-diabetes prevention class, St. Mary’s will also be offering a diabetes support group, more education classes and engagement from providers who will specifically work with diabetic patients.

“There will be lots in the next year,” Jahnke said classes and education opportunities.

“All focused on diabetes,” Mouw added.

Call 218-846-7328 for a quick discussion with Baker to determine eligibility, or email her at Class size is limited to 15.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.