CSA, partnered with several other local agencies, is the lead agency for the Challenge Diabetes Program (CDP) funded by El Camino Hospital. The program kicks off each fall with a free A1C blood sugar test and consultation with a dietitian, informing each participant of their diabetes status and providing tips on living a healthy lifestyle. Each month, participants receive healthy groceries provided by Second Harvest Food Bank and educational materials translated into Mandarin, Russian and Spanish by volunteers. Participants also have the opportunity to take free exercise and nutrition classes. After 9 months, blood tests are conducted again so that progress can be measured.
Results this year were fantastic! 23% of participants have maintained healthy status this year after starting the program in the diabetic or pre-diabetic ranges several years ago and an additional 21% of participants have moved to the healthy range JUST IN THE PAST 9 MONTHS! We are blown away by the outcomes in this program. To summarize, 44% of people who were previously pre-diabetic or diabetic are currently healthy!
Clients like Linda M. illustrate why this program is so effective, “I don’t eat as much junk food. I have good food to eat and that helps a lot. I went from a 6.2 A1C to 5.2 over the last 9 months. My cholesterol is also way down, and I stopped drinking soda too.” Another client, Isabel C. says, “My A1C went from 5.9 to 5.7. The doctor took away my medicine after starting the program because I do not need it anymore.”
According to CDP Program Coordinator Lisa Vergati, low-income individuals are especially vulnerable to chronic conditions such as diabetes because of reduced access to healthy foods. “The clients are so grateful for this program because they are getting nutritious food along with the information and encouragement they need to improve and manage their health.”