african americans, diabetes, health equity, public health

#BlackHealthMatters: Diabetes

POC FebruaryThis week is Black Health and Heritage and month. While we, black people within the diaspora have a very rich culture and heritage, it is important that we preserve not only our heritage but also our health. Unfortunately there are many preventable disparities that afflict the health of our people. Preventable being the operative word, there are lifestyle and behavior changes that we can make individually in our lives and within the lives of our community to ensure not only a rich heritage but a heritage of health.

Diabetes is an epidemic among the African American community.  Approximately 4.9 million non-Hispanic African Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. While socioeconomic factors such as income and the food environment influences the prevalence of  diabetes; we can do small things to prevent the risk of developing diabetes and better management of the disease. As health advocates we can empower members of our communities to prepare healthier culturally appropriate meals. My personal belief is that while we need to move more, we really need to focus on our eating behaviors. Soul food LoveContrary to popular belief healthy soul food cooking is not an oxymoron. We can still in the proverbial terms put our foot in grandma’s classic collard green recipes while reaping the nutritional benefits. Check out a few of my favorite recipe books catered to Black/African Americans that you can share with your community members or church congregations: The New Soul Food Cookbook for People with Diabetes; Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family, Vegan Soul Kitchen, or Caribbean Vegan (disclaimer: I am a vegan, hence the two vegan cook books).

How are you contributing toward reducing the risk and prevalence of diabetes among Black/African Americans?

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