The primary health concern for Eatonville’s diverse population is a high rate of diabetes. Approximately 24% of residents are suffering from the condition, which is double the national average and triple of nearby counties in Florida. Diabetes is part of a range of conditions such as hypertension that impact Eatonville’s residents without a clear explanation. It is evident that lifestyle changes need to be made since community cohesiveness and socio-economic factors are not necessarily an issue for the town (Healthy Central Florida, 2013).
A high prevalence of onset diabetes in a population creates a significant disease burden which is based on obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Diabetes, in either form, can cause multisystem complications which affect cardiovascular and neural systems. This leads to reduced life expectancy, higher rates of morbidity or mortality that create significant public health costs for the community (Forouhi & Wareham, 2014).
A health advocacy group Healthy Central Florida established a diabetes education and research center by the name of Healthy Eatonville Place. It seeks to reach out to the population by providing tools and information to manage the disease and promote healthy lifestyle choices. This is done through educational classes, counseling, focus groups, and community events. The programs are sponsored as a consideration for the socio-economic conditions of the community.
Meanwhile, the collected data and experience of implementing interventions are used to conduct research and formulate new methods of diabetes management or prevention (Florida Hospital, n.d.). Therefore, the program is successful because it seeks to not only promote diabetes interventions, but also attempt to shape the community and environment which led to the rise of this issue. The population is receiving support and guidance to make a critical and committed lifestyle change.
One of the primary gaps in the Healthy Eatonville Place program is that it addresses the town population already suffering from diabetes. Therefore, it has few preventive functions in a community. While people attending the center may make necessary changes, it does not account for the population which is pre-diabetic, those who are not participants of the program, or a younger demographic that can be at risk due to lifestyle factors.
Furthermore, the program incentivizes self-management which may be difficult even with overwhelming support. There should be mechanisms in place which would help manage or inspire participants to continue making lifestyle changes.
One of the best methods of promoting diabetes intervention on a broader basis, particularly in a small population sample such as Eatonville, would be to implement an extensive screening program. Screening helps accurately identify individuals at risk, after which they can be directed to compulsory education and prevention programs. It can be implemented in schools and public places to target younger populations which may not realize they are at risk.
Comprehensive health and physical education classes aimed explicitly at diabetes prevention have been found to be moderately effective (Willis et al., 2016). In community programs which emphasized diabetes self-management, it was found that using peer leaders and community health workers led to improvements in disease outcomes at a relatively low cost. Additionally, peer leaders showed to help sustainable clinical improvements that lasted over a year (Tang, 2014).
Barriers to implementing such strategies usually consist of financial and administrative difficulties. Even in a small municipality such as Eatonville, it would be difficult to create an initiative of such a large scale. It would require close collaboration between the local government, institutions, and medical organizations to ensure that there is a proper quality of screening conducted in combination with appropriate education. While the Healthy Eatonville Place center has the necessary structure, materials, and trained professionals in place, the town may not be able to provide access to these resources in public institutions.
Florida Hospital. (n.d.). Healthy Eatonville Place a pillar of the community. Web.
Forouhi, N., & Wareham, N. (2014). Epidemiology of diabetes. Medicine, 42(12), 698-702. Web.
Healthy Central Florida. (2013). Healthy Central Florida releases in-depth study: Highlights health disparities amongst three Central Florida communities. Web.
Tang, T., Funnell, M., Sinco, B., Platt, G., Palmisano, G., Spencer, M., … Heisler, M. (2014). Comparative effectiveness of peer leaders and community health workers in diabetes self-management support: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care, 37(6), 1525-1534. Web.
Willis, A., Roshan, M., Patel, N., Gray, L.J., Yates, T., Davies, M., & Khunti, K. (2016). A community faith centre based screening and educational intervention to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: A feasibility study. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 120, 73-80. Web.