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MARION — The HUB Recreation Center, Diabetes Today Resource Team and Franklin-Williamson Healthy Communities Coalition hosted a free diabetes screening event for Diabetes Alert Day from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday.

American Diabetes Association Alert Day is a day to sound the alarm about the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes by asking everyone to take the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test. The test contains seven simple questions and is available at Risk factors include age, weight, blood pressure, family history, activity level and gender.

Greg Smith of SIH Community Benefits leads the Diabetes Today Resource Team. He said the event was a collaboration of the host organizations, as well Heartland Regional Medical Center, Shawnee Health Services, Egyptian Area Agency on Aging Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Southern Illinois Healthcare and Christopher Rural Health Planning Corporation.

An estimated 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes in 2015, according to the ADA. Of that 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 23.1 were diagnosed, and 7.2 million were undiagnosed. Approximately 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

Smith said between 5 and 15 percent of adults in Jackson, Franklin, Williamson, Perry, Union, Saline and Johnson counties are living with diabetes.

The idea behind Diabetes Alert Day is to provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about not only diabetes, but also their general health, and to find resources and other events they may want to attend.

During the event, 45 to 50 adults were screened for diabetes.

“It looks like we had a really good turnout,” Chris Georgantas, general manager of The HUB, said.

Those who participated in screening could receive a lot of information about diabetes, and talk to a healthcare provider, pharmacist or dietitian.

Sherri Parr, a physician’s assistant with Southern Illinois Medical Care Associates (SIMCA), was one of the providers on hand to speak to those who had been through screening. Her office is across the street from The HUB.

“This has been terrific for us. It was great to collaborate with Shawnee Health and SIH,” Herby Voss of HRMC said. “Diabetes is an epidemic in Southern Illinois, from children on up. If we can be out front, that’s what we want to do.”

“Ideally, you want to avoid diabetes. If you do get a diagnosis, you want to treat it,” Smith said. “If out of 50 people, only one or two had labs that were out of whack and they are able to go to their doctor and get a diagnosis, we’ve done a good thing,” Smith said.

Upcoming events related to diabetes include:

  • Diabetes Support Group, 6-7 p.m. Thursday, March 29, Michael Stewart and Associates, 807 S. Commercial St., Harrisburg.
  • Grocery Store Tour, 1-3 p.m. April 12, Carbondale Kroger, 501 N. Giant City Road, Carbondale.
  • Diabetes and You, a beginner’s guide to managing your diabetes, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Shawnee Health Care, 1006 S. Division St., Carterville.
  • Diabetes Self Management Program, 4:45-7:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 15-June 19, Shawnee Health Care, 400 S. Lewis Lane, Carbondale.

For information on other local health events, visit



Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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