Know Your Number; Free Diabetes Risk Screenings in Bay County - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Community Health Task Force Urging Bay County Citizens to Know Their Number; "Diabetes is Preventable"

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Russell Morrison and his son were on their way to the arcade Saturday afternoon inside the Panama City Mall.

"It's boys day out," said Morrison.

But before trying to reach the highest level on an arcade machine, the father and son duo made a stop at the free Diabetes Risk Screening so Morrison could find out his blood sugar level. 

"The gentlemen over there said free blood sugar testing and I just ate and have a step son with blood sugar problems," said Morrison.

Health professionals were on hand at the Panama City Mall, just one of 8 locations throughout Bay County, urging citizens to fill out a questionnaire, get their finger pricked, and ultimately know their number.

These diabetes risk screenings are the first step the Community Health Task Force's ‘Diabesity' Committee is taking in response to the Community Health Improvement Plan released back in the Fall.

The plan revealed diabetes and obesity are two major health concerns

"We know that 35 percent of our population in Bay County more or likely has pre-diabetes which amounts to 59,000 people," said Jo Colville, the Diabesity Action Team Chair.

Pre-diabetes means individuals who have an abnormal blood sugar level could be at risk for type 2 diabetes.

"The goal is to catch them at that stage because it's preventable," said Colville. "Once you develop diabetes, you got it for a lifetime."

Jen and Eric Hauser took a few minutes away from shopping to undergo the quick pinch Saturday afternoon.

"A lot of people need to watch out for it my friend came down with it, her cousin," said Eric Hauser. "It's dangerous, real dangerous."

Even though the Hausers and Morrison's levels were within normal range, now they know.

"I wouldn't of checked on my own if the guy didn't solicit it," said Morrison.

The task force screened more than 100 people and that's just at the Panama City location.

Those who had abnormal readings were given information and referred to the National Diabetes Prevention Program at the Bay County Health Department.