Beat diabetes in the new year

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Cox partners with UM Extension to help keep community healthy

Cox Health and the University of Missouri Extension are teaming up to give residents who may be at risk of type 2 diabetes another resource to stay healthy in 2021.

The new diabetes prevention program is scheduled to begin Monday, Jan. 11 with online classes. Classes will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. every Monday for the first six months, and once a month for the final six months of the year-long program.

Community Health Field Specialist Kelsa Ferguson said a grant from the Department of Health and Senior Services is providing a grant that allows the partnership to offer this program for free of charge.

“One in three adults are pre-diabetic, and 90 percent are unaware,” Ferguson said. “By participating in this class, it will reduce their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.”

The goal of the program is to help participants lose 5-7 percent of their bodyweight and work up to 150 minutes of physical activity per week by the end of the 12-month course.

Ferguson also said the program will also function as a support group, where members can work together to share information.

“We are going to talk a lot about how to heat healthy, how to exercise and stress management,” Ferguson said. “A lot of it is going to be about getting support as a group.”

While the program will begin this month with online meetings, if COVID-19 restrictions are eased later down the road, Ferguson said the group may begin to meet in-person.

This program is being specifically designed for community members who are at risk of contracting diabetes, which could include people with a family history of diabetes, those who are overweight, residents who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

“There are 79 million Americans who have pre-diabetes, which increases their risk of heart disease and stroke risk,” Ferguson said. “Without intervention, 30 percent will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.”

Anyone who is interested in enrolling in the program is invited to contact Ferguson at 417-635-4562 or

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