By Leigh Ann Hoffhines, Communications Manager, Rinehart Clinic

Rinehart Clinic applauds Tillamook County Year of Wellness for its decision to focus on diabetes. The clinic’s healthcare team has long recognized the challenges patients with diabetes face and the impact the disease has on the health of the broader Tillamook County community. With roughly nine percent of Tillamook County residents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and nearly 33 percent of adults at risk for the disease, it merits our attention.

As the community becomes aware of the need for healthy lifestyle choices, we also need to make it easy for people to be active participants in their own health. From a patient’s perspective, the hardest step may be that first one:  walking through the doors of a healthcare facility for treatment and education. The care team at Rinehart Clinic has found the single most important factor in bringing about positive change is creating a supportive environment for treatment and for group classes.

Last summer (July 2017), Rinehart Clinic launched a comprehensive Diabetes Risk Reduction Program made possible by grant funding from the Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization. The program helps patients make positive strides towards overcoming some of the risk factors of diabetes, including obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The clinic holds a variety of healthy lifestyle classes throughout the seasons, shying away from traditional lecture-style trainings, and opting instead for informal and interactive conversations that are often driven by the participants themselves.

To help make it easier for patients to participate, the clinic offers incentives for patients who join in the programs. This past year, the clinic’s weight loss/walking group members received pedometers, healthy eating class participants went home with fresh vegetables each week, and many class members received vouchers for free fitness and aquatics classes at North County Recreation District.

The program has been in place since mid-2017 and the clinic is already seeing positive outcomes for participating patients:  lowered blood sugar numbers (A1C), lower blood pressure, healthier eating habits, and even weight loss.

Rinehart Clinic’s class lineup includes:

–          A Weighty Discussion series, which offers an informal conversation around healthy eating and weight loss. Some of the participants also joined in a weekly walking group during the summer months.

–          The popular Art of Eating class, where patients learn how to increase the use of vegetables in their diets in healthy and creative ways.

–          Living Well with Diabetes, which offers supportive tools to help patients manage diabetes and pre-diabetes conditions.

Several community partners who believe in the importance of a healthy community have rallied behind Rinehart Clinic’s Diabetes Risk Reduction Program:

  • North County Recreation District, which provides fitness and aquatics passes for patients to help them become more physically active.
  • Moon River Farms, a local organic farm that provides shares of vegetables through its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for the Art of Eating classes.
  • Manzanita Farmers Market offers participating patients vouchers for free fruits and vegetables at the market throughout the summer and fall program.
  • Manzanita Grocery and Deli, long known for its commitment to the well-being of the community, is also offering a voucher program to provide fresh produce in winter when the local farms are not producing.

All of these programs and resources will continue at Rinehart Clinic throughout 2018. For information on upcoming class sessions visit www.rinehartclinic.org.

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tillamookyearofwellness@gmail.com'