Healthy Happy Hour to help diabetics manage their illness without zapping cheer from upcoming holiday celebrations

HOUSTON — Holiday seasons typically stir up anticipation of carefree and joyful family gatherings and social events, but festivities can turn into a hardship for people struggling to manage their diabetes or pre-diabetes.

A free Healthy Happy Hour will try to make it easier for them to remain conscious of what they eat and drink without zapping the cheer out of holiday celebrations.

The Diabetes Awareness and Wellness Network (DAWN), a free Houston Health Department diabetes center, will organize the event on November 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Third Ward Multi-Service Center, 3611 Ennis, to observe National Diabetes Day. November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month.

“People with diabetes or prediabetes can think of our Healthy Happy Hour activities as a mini holiday survival boot camp,” said Nathalie Butler, a DAWN nutritionist.

Event sessions will cover topics such as meal planning, recognizing alcohol limits, low-calorie beverages and include demonstrations on how to cook healthy appetizers and prepare “mocktails.”

A Diabetics 101 class and trivia games will help attendees learn about managing the chronic illness. Fun fitness breaks throughout the event and a Zumba dance party will stress the importance of physical activity in controlling blood sugar levels and lowering the risk of other health conditions.

To register or find more information about the event, visit or call 832-393-4055. Seating is limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

Twelve percent of the people living Houston had diabetes in 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available from the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Diabetes is the eighth leading cause of death in Houston.

People unable to manage their diabetes can experience serious health complications that could lead to kidney failure, amputations and blindness. They are also at higher risk of heart disease, nerve damage and stroke.

DAWN helps Houstonians diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes or at risk for the illness develop self-management skills. It also offers its services to caregivers of people with type 2 diabetes.

Program participants can access English and Spanish classes such as cooking, fitness, diabetes and prediabetes prevention and chronic disease self-management.