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West Jordan Journal

Community invited to learn about diabetes prevention at fall health fair

Oct 28, 2019 09:53AM ● By Jet Burnham

Community invited to learn about diabetes prevention

By Jet Burnham | [email protected].com

University of Utah’s Center for Community Nutrition presents the West Jordan Middle School Fall Health Fair Monday, Nov. 4, 6 to 9 p.m. at West Jordan Middle School, 7550 South Redwood Road. It is open to all families in West Jordan and the Jordan School District.

“Our mission is to advance the prevention of disease—particularly diabetes and obesity—in the community through education and outreach,” said Community Nutrition Program Administrator Sarah Elizabeth Garza-Levitt.

The outreach event is funded by the Larry Miller and Gail Miller Family Foundation to educate families about healthier lifestyle choices and the early health screenings that could have identified the late Larry Miller’s diabetes and slowed its progression.

“That's why the Larry H and Gail Miller Family Foundation is so passionate about this work in early prevention, or childhood prevention of diabetes in family units—because it directly impacted their lives,” Levitt said.

The free Community Health Fair will provide information about a variety of public health concerns at booths sponsored by the Wellness Bus, Utah Center for Community Nutrition and the American Heart Association. There will be information about vaping/nicotine and the U of U One Day Diabetes Program. The University of Utah School of Dentistry will host an oral hygiene education booth and pass out free hygiene kits.

Children can win prizes by playing games or participating in activities at each booth. There will be a drawing to win Fitbit devices and Utes football and basketball tickets.

Healthy snacks will be provided and U of U mascot, Swoop the red-tailed hawk, will be available for pictures.

The health fair is part of the Driving out Diabetes Initiative and Diabetes Awareness Month. From 7 to 8 p.m. there will be a screening of the documentary, “Sugar Babies.”

“The film teaches the basic physiology of diabetes and talks about ways that people can manage their diabetes—either type one or type two—and improve their overall health,” Levitt said.

The film’s director, Jenny Mackenzie, will be available to answer questions and to discuss what parents can do to keep their children healthy. One of the families featured in the film will talk with community members and share how they manage their child’s diabetes.

West Jordan Middle School Principal Dixie Garrison is glad to support the community health fair for the second year. She said many parents don’t realize the dangers of diabetes for their children. She said when parents watch the “Sugar Babies” film, they will better understand the importance of the daily choices they and their children make.

“It's about how our lifestyle and the food we eat and the way that we raise our kids is causing the crisis,” Garrison said. She believes changes can be made to promote a healthy lifestyle and diet and avoid serious health problems. In an effort to promote healthy food choices, WJMS does not have sugary drinks in its vending machines.

“We don't have the soda available for students to buy,” Garrison said. “We just have water bottles, Gatorade and juices.”

The U of U Health and Sciences Department has developed a curriculum and teaching materials for teachers based on the “Sugar Babies” film. Their Crush Diabetes program is designed specifically for middle school students to educate them about the risks and the prevention of diabetes and obesity.

“Over the last two years, we've reached over 25,000 students across Utah, Idaho and Arizona,” Levitt said.