The prevalence for diabetes has steadily increased over the years, not only in Washington, but the American Diabetes Association estimates nationally one in five health care dollars is spent on diabetic care. Education is the key to fighting diabetes at an early age. Amerigroup Washington is taking initiative, making strides toward combatting the disease with its innovative child-friendly program.

“Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk, See Your Doc!” is an educational program designed by Amerigroup Washington for children ages 6-11 to help relay the risks and realities of diabetes via exercise and games.

The hour-long program has three components:

• Exercise (the walk)
• Educating children on information about diabetes (the talk)
• Encouraging children to get their annual checkups (the doc)

“We combine exercise with education and find ourselves skipping, crab walking and jumping around alongside the children,” said Torri Canda, Amerigroup Washington Health Promotions manager. “The educational aspect is focused on discussing factors, early warning signs and complications of diabetes, and how to prevent the disease through exercise and healthy eating.”

The children participate in activities including “food find” puzzles where they find healthy foods hidden within a picture and question and answer activities where kids answer questions about healthy food options.

While it is extremely important to educate children on the importance of healthy eating and exercise, it’s just as important to make sure the parents are well informed too.

“We send the children home with information on issues we’ve discussed throughout our time together, and stress the importance of regular checkups—encouraging kids and parents to be proactive about their own health,” said Canda.

Upon completion, the children receive a Captain Amerigroup food placemat and a t-shirt upon completion.

If you are interested in having a “Walk the Walk! Talk the Talk! See Your Doc!” presentation in your community, please contact Torri Canda (206) 695-7081 or [email protected].

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