For the past few weeks, I have shared with you how African Americans who suffer from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart conditions are most affected by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Why? The deaths have occurred because their bodies were weak and couldn’t fight. In contrast, those who are eating proper items such green leafy vegetables, adding exercise to their regimen and cutting out most of their carbohydrates and sweets have much better results.

My family’s struggle with type 2 diabetes, and how we suffered the great loss of our mother, Fannie Estelle Hill Grant, in such a horrific manner, was due to our lack of knowledge. Mother only lived 12 years after her diagnosis. For new readers, here is the short version of her story.

She lost both legs and was extremely sad and depressed! Who wouldn’t be? Mother underwent kidney dialysis, had high blood pressure and suffered seven strokes. She was only 61 when she had her first major stroke, which resulted in paralysis. She lived 12 more years, dying at age 73.

There is an excellent quote from Edward Stanley: “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” And in Scripture, 3rd John 1:2, it says “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Let’s take a look at some well-known Blacks who died from complications of type 2 diabetes:

– Norman Whitfield, a songwriter, producer and chief architect of the Motown Records sound in the ’60s and ’70s, died in Los Angeles in 2008 at age 67. He had recently emerged from a coma, which occurs when one is eating all of the wrong foods and drinking high-carb, super-sweet drinks.

– Vernita Lee, mother of Oprah Winfrey, died on Thanksgiving Day in 2018.

– “Touched by an Angel” star Della Reese died in 2017 at age 86. She once guested on my radio show to remind folks to change their eating habits and exercise, but it was too late by the time she learned what to do herself.

Type 2 diabetes gives equal opportunities. It is not about financial status, but it is about diet and exercise.

Dr. Griffin Rodgers of the National Institutes of Health once told me during an interview, “Our genetic makeup says a lot about what we are likely to become. Risks vary, depending on our two parents; you inherit half of your genes from one parent and half from the other. It could be that susceptibility gene, you may have been lucky to not inherit. Our environment and diet have much to do with it. NIH studies we’ve funded determines our environment begins in utero. The infant born to that mother when they have diabetes is more likely to develop diabetes later in life than an infant born to that same mother who was not affected by gestational diabetes.

“A good prescription is exercise and maintaining your weight at a level that your doctor approves,” he said.

It may not be our fault when it is in our genes, but when it isn’t discussed very much, you don’t have a chance, which is why I promised to tell this story for life.

Rodgers concluded by saying, “A good prescription is, one, get checked early and regularly; two, learn how to eat properly when you discover you are a candidate; and three, exercise and lose weight. You will save yourself and your loved ones from experiencing a life filled with pain, unnecessary suffering and regrets!”

Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website,, email or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.

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Lyndia Grant

A seasoned radio talk show host, national newspaper columnist, and major special events manager, Lyndia is a change agent. Those who experience hearing messages by this powerhouse speaker are changed forever!

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