Diabetes 2020: The Registered Dietitian’s Impact on Change

Posted by Erin Nugent, Registered Dietitian, Kansas City on 1/9/2020

A great deal of resources and time have been dedicated to Diabetes Education, and there are times that many Registered Dietitians ask themselves, “Is what I’m doing really making a difference?”  

The answer is YES!  But, it is an enormous challenge the American lifestyle has created. 

?       According to the CDC, the obesity rate in America was 39.8% and affected 93.3 million US adults in 2015-2016

?       A 2017 article written by the US department of Health and Human Services reports that less than 5% of adults in the US participate in at least 30 minutes of activity each day.

o   The same article states that overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

?       A new study by the CDC released this month (December 2019) reports that 1 in 5 adolescents (12-18 years old) and 1 in 4 young adults (18-34 years old) are living with prediabetes.

?       According to the AADE, less than 60 percent of people diagnosed with Diabetes receive any formal education.

All of this suggests a renewed call for the Registered Dietitian community to reaffirm its commitment to Diabetes Education as we step into 2020.   In my work, I try to remain centered around a few principles that are directly within my control to offer to my patients and remain passionate in my approach.

1.      Taking the time to assure the condition of Diabetes is explained in easily understood terms.  

Education takes time and when offering information on especially complex topics, the teaching methods require a combination of conversation, reading materials, links to reputable online information and visuals.  Diabetes 2020 offers methods that you can enhance your style of teaching and offer more satisfaction – short term and long term.  Consider how products like the Diabetes Glucose Wand creates a great visual for how the responds to glucose.

2.      Reinforcing the importance of lifestyle changes and provide information to support your teaching once at home.   

Lifestyle changes are difficult for each of us.  And, receiving the Diabetes diagnosis has to be very difficult for anyone to consider the depth of lifestyle changes that must be adopted.  There are great daily management tools available to patients, and it’s important to help people navigate to them quickly and recommend use.

3.      Reminders that small, daily changes add up to new behaviors over time.

Tips and tricks are important when trying to make daily lifestyle changes.  Tools that allow for daily reminders and commitment.  Changes the whole family can make that assist their loved on in making the change.

4.      Making change real, by setting realistic goals for geographic, cultural or other socio-economic conditions.

It only takes a few more minutes in my preparation to consider what might work, or not work, for the person I’m chatting with.  It’s all part of developing a relationship and learning a little about the daily life challenges of others. 

5.      An education program doesn’t have to be expensive.

Look for those education tools that just work and advocate for the importance in having the tools an products that you need.  Diabetes Education saves money for all, but especially improves the life of the Diabetic when done well.

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