Iredell News

Section: Iredell News

Diabetes Dare Gets Health System Employees Dancing


Something unusual is happening on the campus of Iredell Memorial Hospital. This November, hospital staff have done 'the dab,’ danced to disco and jammed to a Justin Timberlake hit. It’s all part of the Diabetes Dance Dare, a social media campaign from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Nurses, wellness staff and others have stepped and shimmied out of their comfort zones to raise awareness about the disease.

The rules of the Diabetes Dance Dare are simple: dance for 23 seconds, post the video online and challenge someone else to do the same. You can be silly or serious but the length of the dance is important. Every 23 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes.

The videos posted on the Iredell Health System Facebook page have been a hit, getting hundreds of views and several shares. Rene Atwell, inpatient diabetes educator at Iredell Memorial, accepted the dare along with quality department staff at the hospital. They laughed their way through recording their dance to the ABBA classic "Dancing Queen." Atwell said making the video was fun – but the message behind the dance is significant.

“Diabetes is something you have to be mindful of. You must think about what you're eating, your exercise, your medications. It's a condition you have to manage every day or you can get into trouble,” she said.

In her role at Iredell, Atwell helps people who have been recently diagnosed, or who are suffering from diabetes complications. Many of the patients she sees have Type 2 diabetes, which typically develops later in life and affects the way the body processes sugar. Risk factors include family history, excess weight, dietary choices and a sedentary lifestyle. It can rob patients of their eyesight and kidney function and can contribute to stroke and heart disease. In Iredell County, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death. It is estimated that one in 10 people in North Carolina are living with the disease.

The dance dare videos are just a small reflection of Iredell Health System’s (IHS) efforts to address the damage diabetes is inflicting on the community. Along with certified diabetes educators like Atwell who work with hospital patients, IHS operates the only ADA certified diabetes center in Iredell County. There, clients can find emotional support and learn how to manage their disease through exercise and proper nutrition.

Atwell said she wants people to understand the importance of being tested for diabetes so they can get the help that they need.

“I firmly believe that knowledge is power,” she said. “Once you learn about your risk factors and how to make healthy choices, you have the power to make the right decisions.”

The ADA offers a pre-diabetes risk assessment test online at You can find more information on the Iredell Diabetes Center or locate a healthcare provider to answer your questions about diabetes at

Categories: General News