Three years ago, Eatonville resident Sarah Williams was one point away from suffering Type 2 diabetes and weighed more than 400 pounds. Today, she's 100 pounds lighter and her health improved so much that she's just one point away from having pre-diabetes.
Williams is one of nearly 600 people who have used the services of Healthy Eatonville Place, created in 2014 by Florida Hospital, Healthy Central Florida and the Winter Park Health Foundation after a study showed 24 percent of Eatonville's residents had diabetes -- a rate nearly triple the national average.
The goal was not only to help the town of 2,200 residents regain their health with educational programs, counseling, support groups and healthy cooking classes, but also determine why the population had disproportionate rates of diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Today, Florida Hospital releases results of the Health Risk Assessment conducted at Healthy Eatonville Place, which followed 273 participants. Among the results:
- 97 percent of participants with pre-diabetes did not progress to overt diabetes
- 36 percent of participants with pre-diabetes lost an average of 5 percent of their weight
- 60 percent of participants with pre-diabetes made nutritional and exercise changes
- 80 percent of participants with uncontrolled diabetes reached their blood pressure goal
"These results demonstrate that the nutrition, exercise and diabetes classes are having a major impact to improve the health of the community," said Dr. Richard Pratley, Samuel E. Crockett Chair in Diabetes Research and director for research and education at the Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute.
With more than 7,000 visits, Healthy Eatonville Place has developed a loyal following that is more educated about diabetes and aware of the impact lifestyle choices have on their health.
"The Florida Hospital team has delivered consistent, personalized care to the patients at Healthy Eatonville Place and this additional service is evidence of their knowledge and response to patient needs," said Lisa Portelli, program director at the Winter Park Health Foundation. "HEP is an important part of the community and a visible sign of the residents' efforts to improve the health of their community."
Given the success of the program, Florida Hospital is now adding a new service to Healthy Eatonville Place. The program's staff will now help participants navigate through the health care system, ensuring they are connected to all community health resources (such as primary care physicians), not just diabetes care.
"The program gave me better health," said Williams, who has completed several 5k races since joining Health Eatonville Place. "It has been a journey and I've been able to make life changes because I've become more educated about diabetes."