Diabetes Outreach teams up to offer ‘Better Choices, Better Health’ interactive program

MARQUETTE — Since COVID-19 started, are you having trouble taking care of yourself? Have you gained weight, found yourself frequently eating junk food and sitting in front of the TV or computer? This can be harmful if you have diabetes, kidney disease, heart problems, a physical disability or other lifelong condition.

The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and the U.P. Diabetes Outreach Network are working together to offer “Better Choices, Better Health,” an online, interactive program that guides you to positive health behaviors for free. You will join a small group of people experiencing similar struggles and trying to create their best life with an ongoing health condition.

The program provides a supportive environment for people who are facing health challenges and trying to make changes. Together, participants find ways to overcome obstacles and celebrate their successes.

New BCBH groups are starting every week. Enrollment is ongoing and no-cost to adults living in Michigan with a health condition or a physical disability. After you sign up, you set your own pace. Start the program from the comfort of your own home or wherever you can access a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. Read short weekly lessons, share what works for you with the group, and get help from your online group via a message board.

Set small goals for yourself each week, such as eating more vegetables or taking a short walk every day. If you need help, the group leader and other members are there for you.

“It was very organized and easy to access. The leaders gave good suggestions in a way that made them feel like helpful friends,” said Lisa Schutz Jelic of Houghton, who took the program last year. “Interacting with other class participants was interesting and fun. Since that time, I have added more exercise to each day, and have made mindful eating something I strive to do more frequently.”

Past BCBH participants reported these improvements:

— fewer symptoms;

— learning to talk with health care providers;

— increased physical activity;

— creating and following an action plan;

— dealing with emotions;

— eating better.

“This is an easy-to-use online health program that works well no matter what type of internet connection you have,” said UPDON Director Ann Constance, who leads BCBH groups. “It’s exciting to see group members make lifestyle changes, improve their health, and feel better.”

To sign up for the program, go to diabetesinmichigan.org. For questions, call the NKFM at 800-482-1455 or the UPDON office at 906-273-1120. Sign up for the program soon, as space for the free slots is limited


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