My Dad was a diabetic. He wasn’t overweight. He was pretty active. He lived to be 80, but my Dad was a diabetic. He died 11 years ago and I miss him more as I age. I believe if he would have stopped smoking, drinking and eating fried foods, he’d either still be alive today or he’d just be preparing to walk around heaven all day. November is National Diabetes Month. According to the 2014, Prince George’s County Health Report, 27.6% of this county’s population has diabetes. That’s almost one third. That’s way too high even though it is reflective of the national average of 1 in 3 persons having diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that can be prevented. Chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and tobacco-related conditions are responsible for 7 out of 10 deaths in the United States today and over half of all American adults have at least one chronic disease. The prevalence of total diabetes (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) among all Hispanic groups was roughly 16.9 percent for both men and women; 13.2% of African Americans aged 20 years or older have diagnosed diabetes.
Partnering4Health, a CDC-funded initiative designed to support community-level health promotion activities, will have reached 100 communities with the goal of reducing tobacco use and exposure, improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, as well as improving access to clinic-based chronic disease prevention services. In our Mid-Atlantic area, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association awarded funds to Arlington County, Fairfax City, Fairfax County, VA, & Montgomery County, MD affiliates with the goal of reducing tobacco use and exposure, improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, as well as improving access to clinic-based chronic disease prevention services.
Add to that local efforts such as “On the Road,” a series of free diabetes classes held throughout the County and sponsored by Prince George’s County Department of Health and Human Services. The classes held in community centers help residents learn more about diabetes; how to track and understand test results; the importance of exercise (class includes exercise demonstration); healthy eating and setting health goals. Participants will also receive a free diabetes screening. For more information about upcoming classes, please contact the Prince George’s County Department of Health and Human Services at (301) 883-3545. You may also view the course online by visiting the following link: http://ow.ly/U2ZvA.
I’m going to descend from my soapbox in one minute, right after this plea. PLEASE, PU-LEAZE click on the links to Partnering4Health, National Diabetes Month, and the PGCo Department of Health and Human Services for more information on preventing chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. I’m not just addressing those of a “certain age” either. Whether I’m outside Gallery Place in DC, Potomac Mills in VA, or Target in PGCo, I witness lots of young people smoking cigarettes, lots of adults who are chronically obese, and driving to Giant, Target or Walmart means driving past the large number of handicapped parking spaces to accommodate the population of people who qualify for these spaces in our county. Yes, I know that chronic diseases are not the only qualification for a handicapped parking permit. I am simply saying this: use this November reminder about National Diabetes Month as a catalyst to better health. As I type this and my belly presses against the elastic in my sweat pants, I have made a mental appointment with my elliptical machine. Listen to the subtle and not so subtle reminders, especially with the upcoming food-centric holidays upon us.