As mothers, sisters, spouses, and partners, we play a central role in the health and happiness of our families, loved ones, and friends. But too often, we deprioritize our personal health, missing opportunities to address our own concerns. So that makes this year’s World Diabetes Day even more poignant for me. This year, the global diabetes community is telling all of us to “Act Today to Change Tomorrow” by focusing on women and diabetes and their right to a healthier future.
Our new Diabetes 360 survey unveiled the most pressing challenges for people living with diabetes (see a Perspectives post on this topic). One sobering statistic we learned is that more than half of women living with diabetes (57%) believe they don’t have places to buy healthy and affordable food near them.
Are there quick solutions that will solve this? Unfortunately, no, but we can take a look at the work we are doing in Trenton, NJ, as an example of a long-term approach. Through the Community Health Collaborative (CHC) funded by Novo Nordisk, we have brought together the City of Trenton, the Superintendent of Schools and 10 non-profit organizations who are working collectively to improve urban health and wellness. One of the innovative programs funded as part of the CHC expands the selection of healthy and affordable foods and beverages at corner stores, such as yogurts, fresh fruits and vegetables in the New Jersey capitol.
Merchants in the “Trenton Healthy Corner Store – Heart Smarts” program are offering wellness resources, such as in-store nutrition education, taste tests, “heart bucks” coupon incentives and free health screenings for customers. To date, shoppers used $1,112 in these heart bucks at four Trenton stores, with the top redeemed items being fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy beverages such as water and 100% juice, and unsalted nuts and eggs. And so far, 300 participants had health screenings and took in-store lessons on various nutrition topics.
Two-thirds of women believe that education and resources are needed for diabetes self-management. We believe community-based resources are critical to disease management – and that they can be improved through partnerships and collaboration.
*1,200 diabetes patients and 500 healthcare professionals