Several community organizations will come together Wednesday to help area kids and adults understand their risk for type 2 diabetes.
In observance of the American Diabetes Association’s Alert Day, the Boys & Girls Club of West Central Wisconsin, Baraboo Lions Club and St. Clare Hospital will provide vision screenings, risk assessments and a variety of healthy living activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club, located inside the Baraboo Civic Center.
Local Boys & Girls Club director Ashley Dunn said the collaboration came out of a shared goal to help people in the community lead healthier lives.
“We have been talking for a while to really collaborate with them to get vision testing to the public,” Dunn said of the Lions Club.
The hospital also will offer a booth with information and an assessment to determine if one is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
“We really do want to support from every aspect,” Dunn said of the club, which not only emphasizes empowering children to make positive choices, but focuses on being part of the community. “ … We feel that we really should work as a community rather than just as an individual.”
People can stop by the four-hour event at any time, Dunn said. She encouraged children and adults throughout the community to attend. Organizers have scheduled a game, a free lunch and healthy cooking class, a discussion, exercise class and more activities.
Mim Olsen, diabetes chairperson for the Lions Club, said two of the club’s overarching goals are preventing blindness and helping people lead healthier lives. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, Olsen said.
The club will have a special vision-screening camera on hand during Wednesday’s event. Screeners typically use the camera to test pre-school children, but other ages are welcome to be screened, Olsen said. The club also will offer education about making healthy choices.
“We’re hoping that we can bring in some children and parents from the community,” Olsen said.
The club is in its second year of collaborating with St. Clare to offer diabetes education to the public and also would like to work with young people in local schools, Olsen said.
“We want people to have a healthy-living lifestyle,” she said.
According to a fall 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of type 2 diabetes has been increasing among children.
“We’re seeing more risk of kids getting diabetes type 2,” said Melanie Mielke, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at St. Clare.
Mielke said that on Wednesday, she will have informational materials and a questionnaire to help people determine if they are at risk for diabetes. Mielke said she’s excited about giving the kids information they can use to lead healthier lives. She plans to hand out pedometers and other goodies.
“The kids are off school this week, so it was an opportunity to get their involvement in learning about healthy habits,” she said.
“The hospital is very supportive of the diabetes program, knowing that a large population is affected,” Mielke said, adding that St. Clare offers individual diabetes management classes and a monthly support group and will soon offer group classes.