With African-Americans being 1.8 times more likely to develop diabetes compared to other ethnicities, education about disease prevention within Black communities is dire. This is why actor/comedian Anthony Anderson has paired up with the Fearless African-Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) diabetes initiative, an awareness program that teaches about type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disorder and develops when the body stops producing enough insulin to use the body’s sugar for energy, or the cells ignore the insulin altogether.
Anderson, a type 2 diabetic himself who lost a father to diabetes and whose mother has been diagnosed with the disease, teamed up with Eli Lilly, founder of the F.A.C.E. program, to help the cause and let others know that diabetes is preventable.
“The first thing is they should go to the doctor for yearly check-ups. That's what we need to do as a whole,” Anderson tells the Huffington Post. “And speaking to African-American men in particular, we need to start going to the doctor. My father had diabetes; we don't know how long he had it before he was diagnosed with it. So that's first and foremost. But with type 2 diabetes, it's all about lifestyle. Eating too much of the wrong things and not balancing that out with exercise. So that's what I would tell people to do: Eat healthier, eat less than what you normally put into your system, and balance that out with walking around your neighborhood or the park.”
Anderson was diagnosed after he became increasingly tired, started experiencing extreme thirst and dry mouth, and kept going to the restroom, typical symptoms of diabetes. He’s now learning how to manage the disorder and work it into his busy acting career.
“It's about discipline,” he says. “I could either die from this disease, or live with it as best as I can. I choose to live with it.... It's all about planning. And if you fail to plan, you know how that goes. So it's all about planning your day out, your meals ahead of time, and that makes it that much easier.”
The F.A.C.E. campaign will travel around the country to host expos and other community events throughout the year. To learn more, visit face-diabetes.com.
(Photo: Albert L. Ortega/PictureGroup)