Black Community Urged To Address Diabetes Risk By Making Lifestyle Changes

Armen Hareyan's picture
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"Diabetesposes a serious threat to [the black] community. We must do everything possibleto stop our loved ones from living and dying this way," Rep. ElijahCummings (D-Md.) writes in an opinion piece in the Louisiana Weekly.

Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among blacks, and more than threemillion blacks have diabetes, nearly twice the rate among whites, Cummingssays. In addition, those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to diefrom heart disease than those without diabetes, and blacks are "even moresusceptible to these complications than our white counterparts," Cummingswrites.

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Many of the factors contributing to diabetesare preventable, he says. According to Cummings, blacks' "traditionaldiet" is a major contributor to this disparity. He writes, "How weeat is all too often related to how we die; we must change our lifestyles nowin order to save our lives later." Cummings adds, "By choosing tomove more and eat less, we can extinguish our vulnerability to this disease andprevent it from extinguishing us."

Cummings notes that there is a "national movement to make healthy foodsavailable to every American child" and that he has been working with hiscolleagues in the CongressionalBlack Caucus toaddress nutrition issues through legislation. He writes, however, "Passinglegislation is not enough. We must also rise up together as a community andeducate our loved ones about the causes and risks associated with our dailydiets" (Cummings, Louisiana Weekly,12/10).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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