HONOLULU - More than 100 active duty and retired service members and their families braved the rainy weather and attended a diabetes health and wellness fair at Tripler Army Medical Center, Nov. 17, here.

This is the second year TAMC's Nutrition Care Division sponsored the fair, with assistance from clinical staff across TAMC, Army Public Health Nursing, the Defense Commissary Agency and Naval Health Clinic-Hawaii.

The fair's theme, "Do You Know Your Numbers," focused on A1C and cholesterol levels. Both of those levels determine if a patient is diabetic, or at risk of developing diabetes.

According to Mary Eiger, fair coordinator and dietitian, NCD, TAMC, the fair's purpo
se was to educate people on ways to negotiate their life outside of Tripler when they are dealing with diabetes, which is in line with the Army Surgeon General's vision and campaign to influence and improve beneficiaries' life space.

"It is important for diabetic patients to understand there is a lot more than just (diet) that impacts your numbers, and it is more than eating right and showing up to your appointments," Eiger explained. "Many things impact your diabetes. It is a lifestyle and there is a culture to diabetes."

Attendees were able to meet with DeCA vendors to learn how easy it is to buy healthy foods at the commissary, visit Army Public Health Nursing booths, providing foot exams, blood pressure screening, body mass index screening, and speak with patient educators about a variety of topics to include disaster planning for diabetics.

The fair kicked off with special presentations and lectures by Dr. Mark Verschell and Dr. Michael Kellar from TAMC's Department of Psychology's Behavioral Medicine Clinic.

Verschell, who is a clinical psychologist and director of the LEAN Healthy Lifestyle Program, spoke about the importance of weight management for diabetics, local and national rates of obesity as they correlate with diabetes and strategies for controlling diet.

Kellar, who is the chief of the Behavioral Medicine Clinic and director of the Tobacco Cessation Program, spoke about tobacco use and how it affects diabetes.

Because diabetes becomes a patient's lifestyle, the fair was a great resource for not only diabetic patients themselves, but family members as well.

"I wanted to come (to the fair) to get information for my sister who is diabetic," said Rhonda Plum, family member. "As a volunteer here, I have many friends who are diabetic. I wanted to get more information to share with all of them."

Plum, who has volunteered at TAMC for the past 22 years, attended the fair with her husband, a retired Sailor.

Plum enjoyed all of the interactive sessions and information booths, but learned the most from the presentation on tobacco use and diabetes. She said learned a lot and picked up helpful information she can share with her family.

"It's great to see (Tripler) looking out for people with diabetes and doing this to help people learn," Plum added. "I hope they continue holding this fair for those who have diabetes or know someone who does."