Michael F. Easley

The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina Dempsey Benton

North Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services

For Release: IMMEDIATE
Date: November 14, 2007

  Contact: Carol Schriber

Program to prevent type 2 diabetes in children expands

RALEIGH -- Five local health departments will receive funding from the General Assembly to replicate a program designed to prevent Type 2 diabetes in children ages 10-18, Rep. Linda Coleman announced today (Tuesday). The announcement coincided with the state’s Nov. 14 celebration of World Diabetes Day in North Carolina.

The five health departments receiving funds are in Gaston, Johnston, Nash, Robeson and Wilkes counties. 

Rep. Coleman is one of the sponsors of the legislation that appropriated $250,000 to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to expand the successful WakeMed ENERGIZE! program. “The outcomes from this program were so strong that we wanted to facilitate program expansion to other counties,” said Coleman.

Obesity and childhood overweight are major risk factors for type 2 diabetes. ENERGIZE! founder, Dr. Mark Piehl, was on hand to talk about the program, which involves modules on nutrition, physical activity, and self-esteem for at-risk children and their families. “We were seeing kids in our practice with multiple risk factors for type 2 diabetes, and there was nothing in place to help them reduce their risk,” said Piehl, speaking on how the program got started.

Since July 2004, nearly 2,000 children ages 10-18 have been referred into the WakeMed program, 45 percent of whom had pre-diabetes. After the 12-week intensive program, children reduced nearly all of their risk factors, including number of hours of television watched and soda consumption. Most importantly, nearly 80 percent of the children who had elevated glucose reduced their levels to normal after 6 months; 70 percent were still at normal levels a year later. 

The health departments are partnering with other groups and some non-profits to make sure that each component of WakeMed’s ENERGIZE! program can be replicated. Recruitment and training of physicians begins in December. From March to May, 2008, each funded county will work with the children and their families for one 12-week cycle. WakeMed will provide technical assistance, and the N.C. Diabetes Prevention and Control Branch, which distributes the funds, will provide a formal evaluation of the entire process.

“We hope the results will prompt additional or continued funding,” said Dr. Marilyn Pearson, Johnston County health director.

Dr. Dennis Harrington, Division of Public Health deputy director said, “North Carolina is working hard to stem the tide of childhood obesity, and we are pleased that five of our health departments will be leading the way to change health behaviors and thus health status outcomes.”

Parents who are interested should talk to their child’s pediatrician about the ENERGIZE! Program.



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