Las Vegas Challenge offers extra incentives to stay healthy

eating habits have kind of filtered down to our children, whether they like it or not,” said Ah Van. Her advice for patients trying to become healthier is to “just do things slowly. If you do big drastic changes it’s really hard.”

The hospital measured patients’ Hemoglobin A1c lab values in November and compared the results to initial readings from August. A Hemoglobin A1c blood test averages the blood glucose level over several months. The closer patients stay to average (six percent), the less of a risk of diabetes-related complications. For each tenth of a percent lost, patients were awarded points. The group with the most combined points won the contest.

The second place group of Lita Lin Kee, Sylvia Pabalan and Beatrice Moran also lowered their hemoglobin A1c values to normal levels and won gift certificates to the Kualapu`u Cookhouse. Alice Smith won a certificate for acquiring the most points in the contest.

Besides offering another incentive to stay healthy, Molokai General Hospital used the contest to increase awareness and enrollment in its Diabetes Care Management Program, said Jeanette Bince, the Diabetes Nurse Educator and director of the Challenge.

The program, certified by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), provides education and ongoing work with physicians to help patients maintain their diabetes. The hospital funded the contest with a grant from the University of Hawaii Department of Native Hawaiian Health. “The grant is for two years, so we’re going to do another one next year,” Bince said.

Native Hawaiians are twice as likely to have diabetes as whites, according to the ADA. The Hawaii Diabetes Association reports Native Hawaiians have higher mortality rates than any other ethnic group in the state. Diabetes rates on Molokai are average with Maui County and the state.

Almost 21 million children and adults in the United States – about seven percent of the population – have diabetes.


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