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Mayor's Office

2005 Media Releases

September 15, 2005
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Andrea Mason, RN, MSN, Health Department, 441-6297

Mayor Kicks Off Program To Help Prevent Diabetes

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced a new local program to prevent diabetes by promoting healthy lifestyle choices. The goals of ActionNOW! are to educate people about the risk of developing diabetes and to help people take action now to help prevent, delay or control diabetes and its serious consequences.

Program funders include Bryan/LGH Medical Center; the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln; the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System; Four Star Drug; the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD); St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center; and Union Bank and Trust.

“Diabetes rates are increasing, and statistics show that one in three Lancaster County residents is at risk of developing diabetes in his or her lifetime,” said Mayor Seng. “It is important to remember that there is a face, a person and a family behind each statistic. ActionNOW! encourages everyone in our community to eat right, to be physically active and to work toward a healthy weight, appropriate blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure.”

The program was developed by the ActionNOW! Community Diabetes Prevention and Control Coalition, which was formed two years ago. About 30 organizations participate in the Coalition, and LLCHD is one of the lead agencies.

“More than 18 million Americans have diabetes, but more than five million of those do not know they have the disease,” said Bruce Dart, LLCHD Health Director. “Through this program, we hope to screen more people for diabetes so they can get the needed education and treatment for the best possible control of their disease.”

Dart said complications from diabetes can lead to blindness, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, amputation and many other health and dental problems. He shared these statistics:

  • Area hospitals report that patients with diabetes have an average hospital stay of 5.5 days, compared an average stay for four days for those without diabetes.
  • From 1997 through 2002, the average cost per hospital stay for a person with diabetes was $15,000, compared to $9,966 for a patient without diabetes.
  • Diabetes is more common as individuals grow older and among African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans. However, for those who are overweight or obese, the chances of developing diabetes increase regardless of age, race or ethnicity.

“Our message is simple – eat healthy, move more and know your numbers,” said Andrea Mason, a Registered Nurse who represents LLCHD on the Coalition. “These are the critical actions people can take to lower their personal risk.

The ActionNOW! resources include:

  • A local phone line (434-7170) answered by a Registered Nurse, who will answer questions and refer callers to local resources;
  • An interactive Web site at which includes a personalized diabetes risk quiz and links to the latest information and resources;
  • A free lending library of educational material;
  • An ActionNOW! Diabetes Prevention Resource Manual for those wanting to help themselves and others take action to decrease the burden of diabetes in our community; and
  • Messages in movie theaters, on billboards and in the media.

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