PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Health officials in Floyd County provide diabetes screenings for several age groups and they are now focusing on younger members of their community. The diabetes coalition is working to screen fifth graders ... hoping to detect kids with per-diabetes and even some with the disease who are undiagnosed
With numbers increasing,health officials say diabetes is an epidemic throughout their county.
Dr. Charles Arnett says, "Floyd County is the highest prevalence in the state at 17 percent. The national average is about six percent, the state is about 10 percent. Floyd County ranks last in the state with 17 percent and that is about two out of five people."
Doctors say the high numbers are directly related to the also growing obesity problem, it is a problem officials want to get ahead of and that is why they are offering diabetes screenings to all fifth graders with parental permission.
Dr. Arnett says, "We want to get them into programs...preemptive programs to try and prevent diabetes or for treatment of the diabetes."
Nurses from the Floyd County Health Department will conduct the finger prick HBA1C test that collects the average blood sugar for three months. They will also provide physicals which schools require to enter the sixth grade
The screenings will start at Prestonsburg Elementary School, it is a program that school leaders say they are thrilled to offer to their students.
Principal Brent Rose says, "About 30 percent of people that have diabetes are undetected and majority of those are school aged children. So this is a way for us to jump on it and help our families early."
The Floyd County Diabetes Coalition plans to use the data collected to apply for grants to further their fight against the disease.
In order to participate, students must turn in their permission slips.
Each school will also provide different incentives like a drawing to win an iPad.
Due to snow days, the screening dates have been delayed and school officials say they are working to reschedule within the next week or two.