The primary goal of this project is to equip residents with the skills and resources needed to effectively prevent and manage chronic disease. Whitley County faces severe health challenges and ranks 98 of 120 among Kentucky counties in overall health outcomes. Through providing residents free access to a proven prevention and management program, this grantee intends to decrease the high rates of obesity among county residents and encourage lifestyle changes that will provide health benefits across the life span.
Using the Microclinic International model, two local health educators and dieticians will host a 12-week series of health education classes for 20 residents who are at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other illnesses exacerbated or caused by obesity. Curriculum content is designed to increase the capacity of individuals to manage and prevent chronic illnesses through taking control of eating habits and adding physical activity to their daily routines. These focused sessions will be complemented with broader community education outreach efforts, including seven health education fairs held across the county, two public diabetes education classes, and direct educational services provided to families participating in the WIC program.
The Microclinic approach is evidence-based and field-tested. During a pilot program conducted in Bell County, Kentucky—evaluated by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health— 95% of participants improved in at least one of five health measures: body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, and/or HbA1c measurements of blood glucose.