New Beginnings Module 2: Knowing Your ABCs

Key points

  • Diabetes increases the chances of developing additional health problems.
  • Managing the ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol, and quitting smoking) can prevent serious complications.
  • The goal of this session is to help participants understand how to use the ABCs to help them set health goals.
Older woman sitting and checking her blood pressure.


Discussion time: 45 to 60 minutes

  • Diabetes and heart disease
  • The ABCs of diabetes
  • Managing your ABCs
  • Barriers to changing behavior
  • Goal-setting discussion

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Name each of the ABCs for diabetes management.
  • State their target goals for A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol, and quitting smoking if they smoke (or how they're going to determine their goals).
  • Name three behaviors they want to change to manage their ABCs.
  • Name at least two factors for successful goal setting.


Suggested stories

Yvonne's Story: Yvonne talks about the challenges she faces in trying to make healthy food choices (audio: about 3 minutes).

Healthy Eating with Diabetes (video: about 5 minutes).

Physical Activity: Practical Tips and Action Steps (video: about 3 minutes).

Setting Goals to Improve Your Health (video: about 3½ minutes).

Key messages

Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. The number one cause of death among people with diabetes is heart disease.

Remembering the ABCs can help participants track and take steps to improve their levels to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

People with diabetes can work with their health care team to set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound). These goals can then be reevaluated and changed as needed.

Tips for going virtual

Take a few minutes at the beginning of the session to explain the features of the video teleconferencing platform and the ground rules for virtual sessions. For example:

  • Mute video or phone when not speaking.
  • Say your name before speaking (especially on the phone).
  • Participants are not required to use a video camera. They can use a photo of themselves instead if they're more comfortable.

Instead of pairing off participants into the activities of this module, use the breakout room feature of your video teleconferencing platform (if available). Or, go around the "room" and have each participant share with the whole group.

See the Facilitating New Beginnings Online for ideas for adjusting activities for virtual groups. The video stories for this module can be played by sharing your screen (and computer audio) through your video teleconferencing platform.

Another option is to share the links to the videos with your group members by email before the session starts. The audio stories can be inserted into the New Beginnings PowerPoint template along with images that reflect the story.