National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, which includes bringing attention to the effect diabetes has on many people each day. There is an estimated 30.3 million Americans with diabetes. Of the millions of Americans that are affected, an estimated 7.2 million people 18 years and older remain undiagnosed. Types of diabetes include type 2, which is the most common; type 1 diabetes, which is less common; and gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy. Symptoms of diabetes can include high blood sugar, excessive thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue. 

This year’s National Diabetes Month is focusing on gestational diabetes. Women who experience gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a higher chance of developing diabetes later in life. Mothers can take similar steps as others with diabetes can to decrease their symptoms and improve their daily lives.

Taking care of yourself every day is an effective way to treat or prevent all types of diabetes. 

  • Maintain healthy eating patterns: emphasize nutrient dense choices like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy.
  • Simple substitutes: Try out a new fruit for dessert, drink water instead of soda, shop for whole grain products, or eat smaller more frequent meals throughout the day rather than a few large ones.
  • Get moving: Make physical activity part of your everyday life. Try biking, hiking, walking, running, or playing sports for fun ways to stay active. Exercise helps improve blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Keep an eye out: Those with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose regularly to make sure they are in an appropriate range especially before and after eating.

The diagnosis for diabetes can often seem overwhelming. It is important to show support for those who experience the daily obstacles of diabetes. There are many support groups available to men, women, and all age groups that can offer resources and comfort to those in need. 

Food is becoming a large part of managing diabetes especially with increasing costs of care. Try out this nutritious and diabetes friendly recipe today!

Peach-chipotle chicken kabobs

  • 1/3 cup Southwest chipotle marinade
  • 3 tbsp. peach preserves
  • 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 2 large peaches, pitted, cut into slices ½-inch thick
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1½-inch pieces


  1. In a small bowl combine marinade and preserves; pour into a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken; seal bag, and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 8 hours.
  2. Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium (300°F to 350°F). Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Alternately thread zucchini, chicken, bell pepper and peaches onto 8 skewers. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place skewers on grill. Grill, covered, 4 to 5 minutes per side or until vegetables are crisp-tender, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken registers 165°F. Serve hot or warm.

Tara Martin – Western Michigan Dietetic Intern