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obesity-man-waist.jpg"Strengthening Community and Healthcare Links to Address Diabetes and Obesity" will be the theme of the 12th annual Alabama Diabetes and Obesity Conference, Nov. 22 in the Second Floor Auditorium of the Montgomery County Health Department.

The Montgomery County Health Department is located at 3060 Mobile Highway, Montgomery.

Sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Alabama Diabetes Network and the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Alabama Diabetes Program, the conference is tailored to health professionals as well as the general public.

Effective Strategies for Preventing Diabetes

A major objective of the conference will be identifying effective strategies for preventing diabetes with a special emphasis on the establishment of prediabetes awareness programs.

Conference presentations will also address the vision changes associated with diabetes with a major emphasis on accessing the signs of vision impairment that often accompany the disease.

Waistline Measurement as a Critical Safeguard

Another emphasis will be on the importance of regular waist circumference measurements. Research has demonstrated that waist size is a major factor in the development of diabetes. Nutrition and health experts emphasize that these circumferences should not exceed more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

The conference will also debut "Every Inch Matters Wellness Waistline Measure" to at-risk audiences.

"Our hope is that this effort will encourage more Alabamians to undertake regular waist circumference measures and also to take other proactive measures to reduce the risk of Type-2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases," says Dr. Evelyn Crayton, a registered dietitian, Alabama Extension nutritionist and Auburn University professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality.

As in previous years, the conference will also include an update on the diabetes epidemic and its close association with obesity. The morning session will begin with an overview of obesity and chronic diseases in Alabama by Dr. Donald Williamson, the health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, and Dr. Jim McVay, director of Health Promotion/Disease management with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Eye Health another Focus

Shakita Jones, representing Alabama Arise, will discuss the Affordable Care Act and its implications for diabetes care.

eye Following several other presentations, Dr. Mark Swanson, associate professor of optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will discuss eye health within diabetes context.

Kathy Biggs, director of Health Promotion/Disease Management at East Alabama Medical Center, will follow with an update on the Alabama Obesity Task Force.

Later in the afternoon, Dr. Fernando Ovalle of Kirkland Clinic Endocrinology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham will discuss Type-2 diabetes self-management education.

Since its inception, the conference has become a major focus of efforts to combat these closely related diseases.

"For the past 11 years, the Alabama Diabetes Conference has provided a forum through which many of the state’s leading public health authorities and researchers share cutting-edge information with those involved on the frontlines of this epidemic — dietitians, nurses, nutrition educators and child care providers," Crayton says.

Register by Nov. 11

Registration, which will cover all handouts, continuing education credits and lunch, will be $10 for students and unemployed community residents and $20 for all others, and it must be completed by Nov. 11. Checks should be made payable to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Please include "Diabetes Workshop" on the check.

For more information, contact Dr. Evelyn Crayton, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 231 Duncan Hall, Auburn University, AL, 36849-5654 or call (334) 844-2224.


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