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Experts Urge North Dakotans to Eat Healthy During Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month, and experts are urging North Dakotans to watch what they eat. Credit: Cohdra/Morguefile.com
November is National Diabetes Month, and experts are urging North Dakotans to watch what they eat. Credit: Cohdra/Morguefile.com
November 9, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. - With November being National Diabetes Month, diabetes experts in North Dakota are reminding people to be aware of how much and what they'll be eating during the holidays.

Jane Myers is the diabetes management coordinator for the North Dakota Department of Health. She says more than 50,000 North Dakotans have diabetes, but for many people it can be avoided simply by making better choices.

"Is your plate one that represents a nice portion of your lower calorie vegetables," says Myers. "Or is it more laden with things that are high starch, high fat?"

Myers also suggests skipping sweets like store-bought pies and instead go for homemade deserts. Other simple suggestions include drinking water instead of sugar-heavy sodas.

This healthy-eating reminder comes just days after the data-mining website Wallethub found North Dakota is the 10th heaviest state in the nation. Wallethub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez says being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for developing diabetes.

"North Dakota actually has the highest percentage of children who are overweight; 20 percent of all kids there are overweight," says Gonzalez. "Getting to children when they're at a young age so when they reach adulthood that number can be curbed."

Myers says if North Dakotans aren't sure if they are at risk of diabetes, they do have tools to help at the Diabetes.org website.

"There's a risk test that they can do to self assess their personal risk for diabetes," she says. "It will just take them through a series of questions. And they can decided how they score on it, and based on that score then they can decided if they need to go in and see their doctor."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, but a quarter of them don't know it.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND