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July 15, 2009
Bearcat Productions, a semi-independent multi-media production company staffed by Northwest students and organized through the Department of Mass Communication, is teaming with St. Francis Hospital and Health Services to produce a DVD designed to educate children and their families about diabetes.
Financial support for the DVD project is provided by St. Francis Hospital and Health Services, the St. Francis Hospital Foundation, the Heartland Foundation, Heartland Health and North Kansas City Hospital through the Healthy Partnerships program.
St. Francis Diabetes Instructor Debra Hull, RN, BSN, said the video focuses on Type 2 Diabetes, which she said is associated with obesity, physical inactivity, family history, impaired glucose metabolism, gestational diabetes and race/ethnicity. The video will be offered during the 2010-2011 school year to third- through sixth-graders in Holt and Worth counties.
Formerly known as "adult onset" diabetes, Type 2 is increasingly common among children, said Hull, who cites Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics showing that one in three children in the United States can be expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime if current trends continue.
"Type 2 diabetes is a complex, dynamic and progressive disease, but a person can significantly lower their risk of developing this disease through exercise and moderate weight loss," she said.
Hull added that 31 percent of Missouri children aged 10-17 are overweight, according to a report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She added that one in six overweight adolescents have a condition known as pre-diabetes, which can lead to full onset of the disease.
The DVD project grew out of a series of live presentations Hull made to Nodaway County schoolchildren titled "A Journey with Joe into Diabetes."
"The response was overwhelmingly positive," Hull said. "Requests have been rolling in to get this information to more children and to the public, and this led us to Bearcat Productions and the idea of creating a DVD."
In addition to viewing the video in classrooms, youngsters will be given a copy to take home and watch with their families. Hull also plans to continue offering live presentations in Nodaway County during the coming school year, this time to high school students.
Bearcat Productions staff met with Hull earlier this summer to determine the video's artistic direction. The next steps include writing a script and recruiting talent. Parts are envisioned for two children and one adult with auditions to be held in August and September. Final production is scheduled for the spring trimester.
"We've found that kids are most entertained by and attracted to a lot of action, camera movement and different kinds of pictures coming at them," Hull said. "We're going to keep the screen very active and high energy."
The ultimate goal, she said, is to come up with a finished product that will both educate and motivate youngsters and their parents to make healthy lifestyles changes and choices.
"Education is a key component to managing this disease," Hull said, "but motivation ranks a high second."
Fred Lamer, assistant professor of mass communication, said the technical and creative requirements of the DVD make it a fairly large project for Bearcat Productions, whose past corporate clients have included Heartland, Kawasaki Mfg. and the Red Cross.
For more information about diabetes go to www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2007.pdf .
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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