Classes are free and open to the public


The Knox County Health Department (KCHD) offers a free Diabetes Management Series several times a year to help those affected by the disease. The next four-part series takes place on Thursdays, Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 12 to 1 p.m. in the KCHD auditorium, 140 Dameron Ave.


“A strong support system can be extremely helpful for those diagnosed with the disease, which is why we encourage people to bring their spouse, family member or close friend to the classes,” said Susan Fowlkes, KCHD director of clinical nutrition.


The four-class series provides information on how to manage diabetes through proper diet, medication and exercise. Individuals diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic are encouraged to attend. Parking is free. Those interested in attending should call 865-215-5170 to register.


High levels of blood sugar over long periods of time can cause blindness, neuropathy, and kidney and blood vessel disease, which may necessitate amputation of legs or feet or other debilitating complications. In 2014, it was estimated that 10.5 percent of Knox County adults (18+ years) have been diagnosed with diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if current trends continue, as many as 1 out of 3 U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050.


Due to the prevalence of the disease, KCHD also administers several prevention programs aimed at reducing diabetes rates, including the Nutrition Education Activity Training (NEAT) after-school program, mini-grants for local businesses to improve diet and physical activity among employees, walking school bus programs, breastfeeding promotion and advocacy, community engagement programs, and others.