Grace Health Engages Families of Patients with Diabetes


"Gracie, a Family Get Fit participant, enjoys fruit-infused water during class."

Grace Health serves over 32,000 patients in Calhoun County, MI, including Spanish speakers and Burmese refugees.

Besides primary care, Grace Health provides many in-house services including podiatry, OB/GYN, optometry, behavioral health, dental, physical therapy, and pharmacy.


Grace Health created the Family Get Fit program to address the unique challenges of managing diabetes.

Pediatric and diabetic patients struggle to make lifestyle changes.

Caregivers and parents often do not participate in appointments or model good habits, and believe that they cannot afford a healthy diet.

Family Get Fit

  • Focus: diabetic patients with an A1C above 7, new diabetics, and prediabetes patients.
  • Goal: engage the entire family in healthy eating and physical activity to support the diabetic patient’s lifestyle.
  • Program: The five-week course meets weekly and has a weekly food category theme:
    • A new recipe using foods from each food group
    • Adults and children play food games as well as participate in cooking
    • Physical activity as a family (i.e. picture charades)
    • Identify challenges, as well as discuss successes, and set goals for nutrition and physical activity
    • Take-home checklist, so families can track their weekly goals
  • Dietitian participates in activities with families to make the class less intimidating.
  • Each family who needs an interpreter receives their own. This helps them engage in the program.
  • Class assistant engages young children with age-appropriate food and physical activities.
  • Weekly giveaways help with attendance and support (e.g., pedometers, nutrition coloring books, water bottles, measuring cups, soccer balls)
  • Follow-up: individualized healthy lifestyle counseling as needed
  • Funding: general funds and 340B savings


• Families enjoy the class because it is something to do as a family. It encourages them to continue physical activities together.
• Participants of Family Get Fit and/or Healthy Lifestyle Counseling improved their A1C by 0.4%.
• On average, participants lost 2.65 lbs., and 51.4% increased their knowledge of nutrition and made positive lifestyle changes.

Date Last Reviewed:  November 2019

More Information

Health center's Uniform Data System (UDS) data

For more information about this promising practice, contact:
Kirby Lee, RDN