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In a former church parsonage in Grundy County, Tenn., Karen Wickham ladled out her lentil stew as people arrived for an evening health education class.
Wickham and her husband, Steve, are white-haired, semi-retired nurses who have dedicated the last years of their working lives to helping people with Type 2 diabetes control and even reverse the condition with diet and exercise.
Wendy - Norris - Group - Father - Daughter
Wendy Norris is in the group, and she has brought along her father and daughter. Since her diagnosis several years ago, Norris said, her doctor prescribed insulin shots and told her to watch what she ate.
She recalled thinking at the time, “Well, what does that mean?”
Wickhams - Question - Tennessee - Grundy - County
The Wickhams have set out to answer that question in Tennessee’s Grundy County, which ranks lowest on the scale of residents’ health. Grundy’s population of 13,000 has the shortest life expectancy in the state and an elevated rate of diabetes (16% of adults), which can eventually result in blindness, kidney failure or amputations.
Norris said trying to overhaul her diet by herself was confusing and difficult. And when things didn’t change, the doctor just kept increasing her dosage of insulin.
Norris - Health - Insurance - Insulin - Cost
But then Norris lost her health insurance. The injectable insulin cost her hundreds of dollars a month — money she simply didn’t have.
“I felt like I was stuck having to take three or four shots a day [for] the rest of my life,” she said. She enrolled in one of the six-week seminars the Wickhams offer and is seeing results in how many shots she needs: “I’ve got it down to one already.”
Presentations - Wickhams - Difference - Science - Fact
With slide presentations, the Wickhams explain the difference between sucrose and glucose, and the science behind the fact that certain foods, like potatoes, spike blood sugar, while sweet potatoes don’t. They preach eating as much fiber as a stomach can stand, and dropping almost every kind...
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