According to the National Diabetes Education Program, 14.7 percent or 3.7 million African Americans have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes, “A group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action or both.” While national awareness campaigns and public health initiatives such as National Diabetes Awareness Month continue to make strides against the effects of the deadly disease, diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. and the total health care and related costs of treatment run about $174 billion annually.
Eli Lilly and Company partnered with actor-comedian Anthony Anderson and R&B soul singer Angie Stone, who are both living with the disease, to encourage African Americans to “Make Over Your Sunday Meal.” Aimed at changing the eating habits of African Americans, the initiative is a part of F.A.C.E. Diabetes, the national Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered campaign to create and build awareness as well as foster support for African Americans with type 2 diabetes.
Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes eight years ago, Anderson knew that healthy eating is a crucial element to a diabetic’s self-management, so he set out to learn how to make small substitutions to his favorite family dishes that would not compromise flavor nor quality. Not only were both of his parents diagnosed with diabetes; his father passed away from the disease.
“Gathering around the table to share dinner on Sundays is a deeply rooted tradition in many African American families, including mine,” said Anderson. “I encourage all African Americans to learn new habits in the kitchen and enhance the old traditions while providing a healthier meal for the whole family.”
Diagnosed 11 years ago, Stone has been the spokesperson for the F.A.C.E. campaign for the last three years. After a family member passed away from diabetes, she wanted to become a champion of knowledge so that the African American community would be more informed about diabetes and how to be proactive.
“It is very important for men and women to go to the doctor and have their annual check-ups; by doing so, there is a chance to catch symptoms early and implement preventive measures,” stated Stone. –christa e. jackson
For more information about F.A.C.E. Diabetes campaign or events, log on to www.FACE-Diabetes.com.