Healthy Shopping Day kicks off National Diabetes Month
Nine percent of Oneida County citizens have diabetes. That means around 3,200 people in the county, according to the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program.
It’s a problem that medical groups like Ministry Medical Group in Rhinelander are trying to improve. Their work helps put Oneida County in seventh place for clinical care in the state, even with the county’s overall health ranking at 50th.
One way they are hoping to make their way through the rankings is via monthly events, such as the Healthy Shopping Day at Trig’s grocery store, which made its debut last Tuesday.
Hope Williams, health and wellness specialist for Ministry Medical Group in Rhinelander, is in charge of the tour. It will be available for free, by registration, the first Tuesday of every month.
“The objective is to be able to navigate the grocery store, identifying healthy items in each aisle, and to be able to effectively read food labels and choose foods accordingly,” Williams said.
The class is not just for diabetics. Those who sign up—whether for diabetes, pre-diabetes, weight loss, athletic training or just overall healthy eating and nutrition—will learn from Williams what ingredients affect their particular issue, and what is really in the food they eat on a regular basis.
Dale Caskey, a diabetic and former Army cook, was one of the first participants on Tuesday.
“It’s good to just learn the basics,” Caskey said. “I knew some of the basics already, but it’s good to walk through a grocery store with someone who’s more knowledgeable.”
Many of Williams’s tips and tricks are simple, yet effective. For example, Williams said that the healthiest foods will be found around the perimeter of the store. Also, stores stock shelves with more popular—and frequently less healthy—items at eye-level. Healthier ingredients and products will be found at the bottoms or tops of shelves.
“Shopping really starts at home,” Williams said. “Going through your cupboards, making your lists.”
But Healthy Shopping Day is not the only thing Ministry is doing to promote good health.
Williams said her goal is to have at least one different health and wellness event every month, in addition to Healthy Shopping Day.
Down the road Williams would like to coordinate events to coincide with national awareness months, such as National Nutrition Month in March. This month is National Diabetes Month.
Williams and Ministry also hope to bring events like the national nonprofit program “Girls on the Run,” a “transformational, physical activity-based, positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade” according to their website, to Rhinelander.
“Trying to improve the health of our community is Ministry’s focus,” Williams said. “I think people think: when they get sick, they go to the doctor. But it’s really so much more than that; it’s prevention, it’s coming in for your annual exams, getting your preventative tests done, immunizations.”
It’s this attitude that gives Oneida County a step up in clinical care.
Another part of Ministry’s mission is putting an emphasis on primary care providers. In Oneida there are 762 people for every primary care provider, according to the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, but Ministry would eventually like to direct all their patients through primary care providers.
“It’s really laying out all the options for the patient,” Williams said. “Even for diabetes, or weight loss, or anything, it’s saying: ‘what are your goals, where do you want to be, how can we help you,’ as opposed to ‘this is what you need to do.’”
“Overall, we are hoping to increase exposure to the services available at Ministry,” Williams said. “We want our community healthy, happy.”
Registrations for Healthy Shopping Days can be made at (715) 361-4366. Ministry Medical Group can be reached at 715-356-8368.