China Raises Diabetes Awareness in the Workplace
The companies are generally interested in Diabetes Awareness Education Workplace Sessions. However, as most of the working company employees are young, on average within their 20s and 30s age range, many of the
Lesley Shane (GHF) and Cathy Wang (Coordinator Sustainable Development and Communications, AngoAmerica China), discussing the content of the GBCHealth Diabetes Initiative Project in China which is aimed to enhance employee diabetes awareness education at the workplace.
company’s surveyed felt that the education would not be directly suitable for this audience because diabetes is not perceived to be a current problem for this demographic. I learned instead, that there was greater interest for Diabetes Awareness Education targeted at the Employee's older family members and relatives. With further dialogue with the Companies, it was discussed that over the last decade with increased economic growth and lifestyle changes that diabetes prevalence in China is reportedly starting in younger people, in the 30+ ages, and also increasing in younger people (e.g. teenagers and college aged students). Also, Interestingly, China’s 'One Child Policy', initiated in 1979 to present day to curb population growth and promote prosperity, has been linked to obesity and diabetes. It has been proposed this link associated with increased economic growth, increasing car ownership and more sedentary lifestyles, combined with greater availability and consumption of tasty, yet calorie/energy-dense Western foods. From these discussions with the Company Members, it was agreed that the Diabetes Awareness Education for the employees would also be helpful for the future prevention of diabetes at the early stages for people who may be at future risk.
The survey feedback also suggested that the Diabetes Awareness Education materials be developed in ‘simple, non-technical’ (e.g. without the use of medical or complex terminology) words , translated to the Chinese language, with the inclusion of visual illustrations to optimize understanding of the key diabetes awareness points and messages by the target audiences. One example of a simple ‘easy to understand’ tool developed is a Diabetes Awareness themed Refrigerator Magnet (under production) that contains key diabetes awareness self-management messages. Some key diabetes self-prevention and self-management tips include keeping blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure at healthy levels, maintaining regular exercise and a healthy diet lifestyle. For people with Diabetes, the aforementioned prevention tips as well as regular blood testing and doctor visits, foot care and seeking family support are important for self-management. The tools also include a Diabetes hotline email address for questions. As each member company has different needs, I am customizing the materials for each audience.
During the process of researching and developing the materials, I appreciated further the magnitude of the diabetes disease burden in China and the very important need for diabetes awareness education focused on prevention and diagnosis of diabetes at its early stage. With the pervasive low awareness, patients tend to confirm the diagnosis only when the disease has developed to its late stage. For those who are diagnosed, they also don't know much about how to treat and manage the disease. The GBCHealth China Diabetes Partnership and workplace training initiative is an important and necessary initiative to enhance education awareness.
Lifestyle wise, Beijing, China, has been a wonderful experience. From my perspective, the city is an interesting city of opposites, the old and the new together and also very beautiful in springtime. On the same street corner, one can view many fast moving high-end cars speeding by, while at the same time scores of boxed shaped grey/green motorized gas and electric powered two and three cycle scooter vehicles driving by, as well as a regular flood of moving cyclists. As this is May, with the arrival of the warmer weather, the blooming trees are in their full glory and smell wonderfully fragrant.