Those of us living in Meigs County are happy to be a part of a rural community. There are many perks to living in our little neck-of-the-woods. However, living in a rural community can also have drawbacks where our health is concerned. According to a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control, Rural residents experience a 17% higher rate of type 2 diabetes than urban areas.
Some of the reasons for this are lifestyle habits, such as eating foods higher in fats and carbohydrates and not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Barriers to healthcare access include shortages of healthcare providers and transportation to health care appointments. The absence of health education is also an issue with rural patients.
Part of my job as a Community Health Worker (CHW) is to help bridge the gap of rural healthcare. I can help arrange transportation to appointments through agencies within our county. I’m there to educate people in their homes and assist them with questions about their diabetes medicines, their diets and ways to exercise. When people are educated about their A1C test results and what diabetes can do to their bodies, they become empowered to make the necessary changes to improve their health.
According to the American Diabetes Association, one in three American adults has pre-diabetes. March 27 is the American Diabetes Association Alert! Day. This is a day set aside to encourage people to take a pre-diabetes risk assessment. I encourage you to go to www.diabetes.org/alertday , or stop by the Meigs County Health Department during business hours (Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m.) to take this short, seven question survey.
Meigs County is a wonderful place to live. Let’s live well in our rural community.
Laura Grueser is a Community Health Worker for the Meigs County Health Department.