Diabetes is a chronic disease requiring behavior modification and lifestyle changes to manage the disease. In 2012, 29.1 million individuals were reported to have diabetes in the U.S. and costs $245 billion per year. Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, inadequate diet, and lack of exercise. 1 in 3 adults in Texas are clinically obese and 2 in 3 either obese or overweight. Furthermore, 50% of adults in Texas are not physically active and about 3 in 4 adults have fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, leaving Texas as #5 in states with the highest number of diabetic patients.
Proper diabetes self-management reduces the risk of disease progression and complications. Often, disease management is taught through diabetes education and wellness classes, emphasizing the importance of lifestyle modifications. Faith-based organizations (FBOs) describe organizations or programs associated with a religious congregation. For some, membership in an FBO is central to their way of life, often influencing lifestyle and behavior.
FBOs have regular access to a captive adult audience of patients and volunteers and typically have strong community credibility. Some FBOs have successfully partnered with health promotion programs to provide preventative health services to at-risk populations with chronic diseases.
Recognizing faith-based organizations as key players in a patient’s lifestyle and behavior regimen, the research objective is to understand the impact of FBOs in diabetes education, awareness, and disease management. Part of a multi-phase project, the first phase objective is to establish a network of stakeholders, individuals critical to the successful self-management of diabetes. These stakeholders are patients, FBOs, providers, diabetes educators, and researchers interested in improving the current state of diabetes.
The research team at Texas A&M University is proudly funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Tier I award. Tier I awards fund the building of the community and capacity necessary to later develop a patient-centered comparative effectiveness research project.