Pocahontas Memorial Hospital concluded a three-week series of Sweet Life Diabetes Cooking Classes last week.  PMH has long offered cooking classes with other agencies, but class numbers had drastically dwindled.  This year, PMH completely revamped the program with a new format and name, recipes and educational lessons.  The revamp worked, because this year’s class was packed with 24 participants, the most to ever attend.  

The classes are offered to people with diabetes and their family members to share a healthier way of cooking.  Oftentimes when diagnosed with diabetes, the patient thinks they have to give up all their favorite foods.  This is not necessarily true, and these classes aim to dispel some of the myths surrounding diabetes, while helping people live and cope better with the disease.  Specific topics included “numbers” and A1c tests, carb counting and portion sizing, and winter/holiday eating.  A follow-up class will be held in the winter and will be a hands-on freezer meal workshop to teach participants how to eat healthy using “convenience” foods.  The classes are offered for free, thanks to a grant from the Snowshoe Foundation.  The classes were held in the kitchen and fellowship hall of Marlinton Presbyterian Church.

Appreciation goes to the wonderful staff and volunteers who gave up their evenings to make this year’s classes a success: Mary Beth Barr, Cheryl Cain, Edwina Garber, Ashley Pritt, Terry Wagner, and Susan Wilkins. Our three wonderful community volunteers were Evilene Beverage, Maxine Ratliff, and Mark Wagner.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Pocahontas County has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the state with almost 11 percent of our population, aged 20 or older, being told by a doctor that they have diabetes.  Not included in this are the many folks who are at risk for diabetes or have pre-diabetes or simply do not know that they have diabetes.  Nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, and it is estimated that as many as one in every three adults will have the disease by the year 2050. 

PMH has a strong diabetes education and support program, including the Sweet Life classes, outreach events and a Diabetes Support Group.  PMH will host a special event at Pocahontas IGA Friday, November 16, to recognize National Diabetes Awareness Month.  Make plans to do your grocery shopping 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 to 4 p.m. to visit our healthy cooking tasting stations. Free recipes and giveaways will be available.

The next Diabetes Support Group meeting will be Tuesday, November 27, at 6:30 p.m. for a fun evening of education and fellowship.  For more information about the Support Group or diabetes education at PMH, contact Terry Wagner at 304-799-7400.  You may also visit our website at www.pmhwv.org/pmhdiabetes to learn more about the many opportunities we offer for education and support.