Nique, Newt Team Up To Fight Diabetes

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NBA Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will hold a press conference on June 11, to announce a joint effort to fight diabetes in Georgia and beyond.

The project, which will be part of Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation (CHT), is being described as "'Nique and Newt's Full-Court Press on Diabetes."

The initiative is designed to increase awareness, detection and prevention of diabetes and its complications, with a special focus on preventing children from developing the disease and its complications. The CDC has predicted that, if current trends continue, one of every three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes -- with the ratio among African-American and Latino children predicted to be even higher. Diabetes is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of adult blindness, disease-related amputations, end stage kidney disease, and dialysis.

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"Unless we are able to successfully promote long-term healthy behavior among the U.S. population -- especially in children -- complications from diabetes- and obesity-related conditions are going to create untold tragedy for the people of America and financially overwhelm our health system," said Speaker Gingrich. "Having someone of Dominque's stature working with us on this initiative offers great promise for us to make a real difference in the health and the lives of our children and grandchildren."

Wilkins said, "What the Center for Health Transformation has been doing, both in Georgia and nationally, is vitally important. I look forward to working with them -- and with Newt in particular -- to turn the tide on diabetes and to create a better, healthier future for Americans everywhere."

Gingrich and Wilkins, who was diagnosed with diabetes seven years ago, first discussed working together to defeat diabetes when Wilkins attended a Gingrich speech in Columbus, Georgia where Gingrich spoke about CHT's Healthy Georgia Diabetes and Obesity Project.

Wilkins has been involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and with several other community efforts to defeat diabetes. Gingrich was deeply committed to the cause when he was Speaker and, since then, through his work at the Center for Health Transformation.

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