Nutrition Column – Type 2 Diabetes and Maternal/Child Health Issues to be Topics at Smith Conference

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Over the last 10 years the number of diagnosed cases in the United States has increased by more than a third. Many factors have played into this rise, including genetics, an aging population and better diagnosis tools; a major factor, though, has been the epidemic rise in obesity in the U.S. The good news is that the onset of diabetes can be delayed or even prevented through lifestyle changes in diet and exercise.

The prevention and management of type 2 diabetes will be a major theme of this year’s Lillian Fountain Smith conference, held June 13th and 14th in Fort Collins. Dr. Richard Hammon, co-director of the Rocky Mountain Prevention Center, will open the conference with a discussion of the results of the Diabetes Prevention Program Trial, a four-year clinical trial among people with impaired glucose tolerance. The study showed that making modest changes in diet and exercise regimes could reduce ones risk of developing diabetes by more than half.

Next, Dr. Dana Debelea will discuss the emergence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, what we know and don’t know about the trend, and studies that are underway to help us better address the issue. The afternoon session will focus on management of type 2 diabetes. Two nationally-known diabetes educators, Marion Franz from Minneapolis and Helena Rizor from Idaho Falls will provide practical tips on prioritizing nutrition messages and matching meal planning methods to client needs.

Day two will focus on maternal and child health issues. Dr. Mary Harris, with the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State, will discuss the important role of omega 3 fatty acids in improving pregnancy outcome. She will be followed by Dr. Marianne Neifert, Denver’s own "Dr. Mom", who will discuss critical factors for early breast feeding success and Dr. Bettylou Sherry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who will speak on tackling the overweight challenge among children and families. The conference will end with a session by Dr. Jennifer Wilkens, Cornell University in Ithaca, on her work promoting the use of locally grown foods in WIC and School Lunch programs.

The two-day conference is sponsored by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State. It will be held at the University Park Holiday Inn in Fort Collins and is open to the public. Registration is $95 for both days; $50 for one day. For more information, contact Pam Blue at (970) 491-FOOD (3663) or check out the conference website at