Georgia syrup maker supports training to prevent type 2 diabetes

Blackberry Patch Syrup

Blackberry Patch, a specialty syrup maker in Thomasville, Georgia, has teamed with Rollins to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

The company is contributing sales from its line of Sugar Free and No Sugar Added Fruit Syrups to Emory's Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC).

DTTAC, an official partner of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, is training lifestyle coaches to deliver a lifestyle change program proven effective for people at risk for type 2 diabetes in organizations around the country.

Support from the company is enhancing training in several communities with high-risk populations by helping defray the cost of the curriculum and materials.

Harry T. Jones and Randy ­Harvey, co-owners of Blackberry Patch, developed the company's sugar-free and no-sugar-added products five years ago to satisfy customer demand for more healthful syrups. This year, the company introduced Sugar Free Sweetness, a new brand of syrups and toppings for consumers who want to eat healthfully, maintain or lose weight, and control diabetes. The business owners also made it a goal to partner with a diabetes-related organization to promote better health in communities. Jones learned about DTTAC through his sister, Randy Jones, a member of the RSPH Dean's Council.

"Randy put us in touch with Rollins, where we know that every dollar we donate to DTTAC will help people at the grassroots level," says Jones.

Such efforts are greatly needed. According to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet published by CDC, 25.8 million adults and children have diabetes, and 79 million adults have prediabetes.

"Blackberry Patch is meeting an important need by building community capacity to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes," says Linelle Blais, director of DTTAC and the Emory Centers for Training and Technical Assistance at Rollins. "Through training led by DTTAC, lifestyle coaches are helping people learn to prevent the disease through moderate physical activity and healthier eating."

"We want to help those who are working on the frontlines to prevent diabetes," adds Jones. "DTTAC embodies the philosophy behind our sugar-free and low-sugar products—good for you, good for the community."—Pam Auchmutey

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