Angela Bassett wants to raise awareness for type 2 diabetes as her family has a history with the serious health condition.
The 61-year-old actress has teamed up with the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association for the Know Diabetes by Heart initiative, which aims to educate people on the causes and effects of type 2 diabetes, and the increased risk it poses to overall health, leading to other serious conditions including heart disease and strokes.
Bassett said her decision to join the initiative stemmed from her family history of battling type 2 diabetes, including her late mother, who passed away five years ago following complications from diabetes.
“[My mother’s death] was really hard on the family. And since then, overlapping with that, her brother, the patriarch of our family, he also has type 2 diabetes, so it really is a family affair,” the Black Panther actress said.
Those suffering with diabetes can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by living a healthier lifestyle, but Bassett says her mother was too “stubborn” to make big changes to her diet, which ultimately cost her her life.
“Growing up in Florida, you know, Southern family and Southern cuisine – and she had a love affair with food. And so it was very, very difficult for her to change that … she was stubborn,” Bassett added.
“She was in touch with her doctors, but she was a little bit more obstinate – one of those personalities where ‘don’t tell me what to do.’ ”
And although she doesn’t have diabetes, Bassett makes sure to visit her doctor for regular checkups, and tries to live the healthiest lifestyle she can.
The “Otherhood” star told People Now: “Sometimes, you know, because my schedule is so busy, I find that if I don’t have an opportunity to work out, I do have to be mindful of my diet.”