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Dougherty County School System conducts Chefs on the Lawn (VIDEOS)

Dougherty School System hosts an event for diabetes awareness

The Morningside Elementary School Steppers entertain during the Nov. 20, 2013, Chefs on the Lawn event at the Albany-Dougherty County Government Center. The event by the Dougherty County School System promoted healthy food choices.


The Morningside Elementary School Steppers entertain during the Nov. 20, 2013, Chefs on the Lawn event at the Albany-Dougherty County Government Center. The event by the Dougherty County School System promoted healthy food choices.


A group of steppers from Morningside Elementary School perform at “Chefs on the Lawn” held in downtown Albany on Wednesday. The event was held to help increase diabetes awareness. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

A group of steppers from Morningside Elementary School perform at “Chefs on the Lawn” held in downtown Albany on Wednesday. The event was held to help increase diabetes awareness. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

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Morningside Elementary Steppers 1

The Morningside Elementary School Steppers entertain during the Nov. 20, 2013, Chefs on the Lawn event at the Albany-Dougherty County Government Center. The event by the Dougherty County School System promoted healthy food choices.

The Morningside Elementary School Steppers entertain during the Nov. 20, 2013, Chefs on the Lawn event at the Albany-Dougherty County Government Center. The event by the Dougherty County School System promoted healthy food choices.

ALBANY — As part of an effort to help curb diabetes, the Dougherty County School System conducted a “Chefs on the Lawn” event in front of the Albany Government Center on Pine Avenue Wednesday.

Among the vendors participating were ACC Distributors, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Flowers Foods, Phoebe Home Care Services and the Dougherty school system — including Westover Culinary. Many offered food and recipes on items considered friendly to a diabetic diet.

The event was kicked off by a welcome by Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.

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Morningside Elementary Steppers 2

The Morningside Elementary School Steppers entertain during the Nov. 20, 2013, Chefs on the Lawn event at the Albany-Dougherty County Government Center. The event by the Dougherty County School System promoted healthy food choices.

The Morningside Elementary School Steppers entertain during the Nov. 20, 2013, Chefs on the Lawn event at the Albany-Dougherty County Government Center. The event by the Dougherty County School System promoted healthy food choices.

“In my opinion, we must make health a priority,” she said. “Let’s make health a priority … let’s motivate (the community) to empower.

“We love (fried foods). We can have some of those things, just need to learn portion control.”

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Suzanne Williams, family consumer science agent for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office in Dougherty County, gives people samples of diabetic-friendly recipes at “Chefs on the Lawn” in downtown Albany on Wednesday. The event is meant to raise awareness of diabetes. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

This was followed by a selection from the Monroe High School chorus, and a performance by a stepping team from Morningside Elementary School. Taking the podium immediately following was Johnny Seabrooks, athletic director for DCSS.

Seabrooks explained the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and how athletes with diabetes are expected to take care of themselves.

“Currently, as you know, there is no cure for diabetes, but diet and exercise can help,” he said. ” … Thanks to (advancements in medicine), athletes with diabetes can participate in sports.”

Among the things diabetic athletes, as well as all diabetics in general, are expected to do to keep their condition in check is monitor their blood glucose levels, maintain and carry with them a list of medications they take and keep on their person guidelines for treating high and low blood sugar in the event they are unable to handle the problem themselves, Seabrooks said.

Athletes are expected to have regular physicals, including a screening for diabetes, he said.

Closing out the program before the food vendors opened was Barbara Turner, coordinator for Dougherty County School Support Services.

“The influx of this disease is something we can do something about,” she said. “It is one that if it hasn’t touched your life, it will — not necessarily you personally, but a member of your family.”

Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, as available from the American Diabetes Association, shows there were an estimated 25.8 million children and adults in the country living with diabetes at the time of the report — including seven million undiagnosed. At the same time, there were 79 million living with prediabetes — normally a predecessor to Type 2 diabetes.

As of the report, about 215,000 of all people under age 20 had diabetes.

Some of the complications associated with diabetes includes heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, neuropathy and amputation. For 2012, the American Diabetes Association reports that the total amount of medical costs resulting from diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. was $245 billion.

The Georgia Department of Public Health Online Analytical Statistical Information System shows that, in 2011, there were 150 deaths in the Southwest Public Health District connected to diabetes. Of the 14 counties in the district, Dougherty had the most deaths at 44, with Baker having the fewest at two deaths.