National foundation donates to fight diabetes

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Health experts say diabetes cases are increasing in our region.

A national foundation is giving more than two million dollars to fight the disease.

The announcement was made at the Appalachian Regional Commission Conference in Floyd County.

Studies show poor, rural counties have a much higher rate of type 2 diabetes.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is giving more than two and a half million dollars to Marshall University to curb diabetes in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

“In this state, it's going to make a big difference in combating this disease,” Governor Steve Beshear said.

“What this grant does is it allows us to work with ten additional communities to really hone in on the challenges and issues they face and help them move to the next level in the fight against obesity,” ARC Co-Chair Earl Gohl said.

“This is a two state initiative that I think will be very significant in the outcomes and seeing improved health across the Appalachian region,” Marshall President Stephen Kopp said.

The money will expand Marshall's Diabetes Coalitions.

Health experts from Marshall University say diabetes will be solved in the community and not the doctor's office. The focus is behavioral changes.

The coalitions will build walking tracks and start healthy eating programs.

Changes in behavior and also doing the changes in the environment to help make these lifestyle changes happen,” Richard Crespo said.

“As we improve the health of our people, the economy is going to improve because we'll have a lot more healthy folks in the workforce,” Governor Beshear said.

The grant will last five years.

Other topics at the ARC conference included childhood health issues and the prescription pill addiction problem.

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