HONOLULU - Diabetes is one of the leading healthcare issues in Hawaii. The older we get, the more likely we are to develop it.

The American Diabetes Association says in Hawaii, more than 13 percent of adults have diabetes, and another 442,000 have prediabetes. 

To combat this health problem, ‘Ekahi Health System in April launched ‘Ekahi WellCare, a diabetes care management program that it says strives to "empower people with the resources they need to better understand and manage diabetes." ‘Ekahi WellCare provides 24/7 monitoring and care management, diabetes education, laboratory testing services, and more.

Newly enrolled Gerry Wong says her new exercise routine brings her a step closer to living the life she wants. The 76-year-old has lived with diabetes for 30 years, which has impacted her in many ways. "I have arthritis and cannot walk long distances," she explains.

Now, she's on a journey to a healthier lifestyle, with the help of 'Ekahi WellCare. Program director Robert Walker describes, "`Ekahi WellCare is an innovative approach to managing diabetes by helping people have all the resources they need under one roof."

They teach participants how to eat better, exercise right, handle stress, and monitor their health, including their blood sugar, or A1C.

Walker says, "Getting folks to be able to manage stress better, reduce anxiety depression, and exercise more in a safe, enjoyable manner can all positively impact that A1C."

Wong says she is thrilled to be part of it because it provides so much support. "You have direct communication with the team helping you learn how to help yourself. That is so wonderful."

It saves money. Walker says, "There's about an $8,000 total cost to care for diabetes on top their normal healthcare costs. There's an opportunity to reduce that cost from $8,000 to $2,000 by effectively managing diabetes."

More importantly, it helps people lead better lives. Wong's excited about the future. "My goal in life is to live to be 93. My great-granddaughter will be 30 then, and I want to be around to see her."