Upper Ohio Valley Diabetes Coalition looking to educate

NEW CUMBERLAND – The Upper Ohio Valley Diabetes Coalition is looking to expand its reach and services to those suffering from diabetes or chronic illnesses.

The self-help program, founded to promote healthy eating habits, information and host workshops on diabetes prevention and maintenance is trying to reach more people and get the word out about its purpose, according to Cindy Webster of the Hancock County Health Department.

“A lot of people in the area don’t know about this program and about help for diabetes,” said Webster, adding the coalition has been up and running for about a year now.

The coalition consists of health officials from Brooke and Hancock counties as well as from East Liverpool, Webster said.

“We even got a call from someone at the Beaver Medical Center in Beaver, Pa.,” she said. “We’ve obtained a grant for this program. We’re trying to create awareness about how diabetes is affecting pupils and students in the area. Kids never had to worry about Type II diabetes. Now they are getting it.”

Webster said obesity, lack of physical exercise and poor diet are the main culprits for Type II diabetes proliferation among youth.

“(The coalition) meets every other month sponsoring chronic disease and diabetes workshops,” Webster continued, adding the free workshops are scheduled for a six-week duration meeting two hours per week.

Current workshops include a diabetes workshop meeting Mondays at the New Manchester Senior Center, and those interested can call (304) 564-3801 for information; and a chronic disease maintenance workshop from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesdays at the First Presbyterian Church in New Cumberland. Those interested in attending the chronic disease workshops can call (304) 564-3343 for information, according to Webster.

Upcoming is another diabetes workshop scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. beginning March 4 at the Greater Weirton Senior Center, she added.

“(Those interested) in the upcoming workshop need to call ahead and make a reservation because space is limited,” Webster said. “These workshops are going to be ongoing.”

The coalition also recently sponsored a poster contest on diabetes awareness at several schools, including the John D. Rockefeller Career Center, Weir Middle and High schools and Oak Glen Middle and High schools, Webster said.

“(The contest theme) was on how diabetes related to pupils and students and to raise awareness about diabetes,” Webster said. “We had 79 entries. It was hard to (choose the winners). They did their research. They all did an excellent job. All the winners won Subway gift cards.”

Webster said Taylor Allison of Oak Glen Middle School was the grand prize winner, and she received a $50 gift card for the win. The posters will be displayed at the Millsop Community Center in Weirton and senior centers in Weirton, New Cumberland and Chester.

Other poster contest winners are Abigail Mercer, first place; Meredith Flanigan, second place; and Charlotte McColligan, third place, John D. Rockefeller Career Center: Lydia Taylor, Weir High: Izzy Costantini, first; Marlei Duvall, second; and Halle Johnson, third, Weir Middle: Karley Wiley, first; Sara Reed, second; and Hayley Yeater, third, Oak Glen High: and Sydney Seckman, second; and Marlee Richmond, third, Oak Glen Middle.

(Miller can be contacted at mmiller@heraldstaronline.com)