Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? — 1 Corinthians 6:15 (KJV)
You’re all invited to join the All Nations Baptist Church at 2001 North Capitol Street NE in D.C., where our pastor is the Rev. Dr. James Coleman. Families from throughout our community are invited to attend our Health and Wellness Fair, Saturday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come out and get your health checkup.
Health organizations confirmed to attend include Sibley Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins Hospital; Dr. Gail Nunlee-Bland, Howard University Hospital’s Department of Endocrinology; National Institutes of Health; Dr. Carla Easter, chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute; D.C. Department of Health; Howard University Speech, Hearing & Memory Testing; DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services will give free blood pressure testing; United Medical Center; American Cancer Society and AmeriHealth Caritas DC.
All Nations Baptist Church will be giving healthy fruits and vegetables as door prizes, and live gospel entertainment will be provided. Enjoy a day of health education and awareness.
“Preventing diabetes in predominately African American communities’ starts with raising awareness, and educating people with pre-diabetes to change their lifestyle in order to decrease their risk of getting the disease,” Nunlee-Bland said. “For individuals that have diabetes, there is an abundance of programs and resources available to help manage the disease.”
Nunlee-Bland suggests diabetes care is complex but can be successfully managed using a multidisciplinary approach. The Howard University Hospital Diabetes Treatment Center provides patients with a team of endocrinologists, educators, pharmacists and nutritionists to help diabetes patients become more knowledgeable about all aspects of the disease.
“We empower our diabetes patients to take on self-management, which is a vital tool that helps set and maintain goals, make informed decisions and alter lifestyle habits to improve their health outcomes,” Nunlee-Bland said.
Statistics for Type 2 diabetes in D.C. neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River (Wards 7 and 8) are quite alarming. Roughly 13.4 percent of residents living in Ward 7 and 19.7 percent of residents in Ward 8 have diabetes, the highest rates in the city. Comparatively, only 3.6 percent of residents living in Ward 2 and 4.2 percent of residents in Ward 3 have the disease, the lowest in the city.
In fact, African American residents in D.C. have some of the highest mortality rates (twice the national average) from Type 2 diabetes and its complications. In Wards 7 and 8, the mortality rate is a stark 45 percent and 32 percent for residents diagnosed with the disease compared to 7 percent and 10 percent of residents in Ward 2 and 3.
“Diabetes is a growing epidemic among low income neighborhoods and a leading cause of chronic health issues for African Americans,” said Nunlee-Bland, director of the Howard University Hospital Diabetes Treatment Center. “This disparity stems from poor communities having a lack of access to health care, educational programs and nutritional resources in comparison to areas of more affluence.”
Higher diabetes rates among African Americans are not unique to Washington, D.C. In the U.S., African Americans are twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared to whites. This disproportion is due to the lack of knowledge. Scripture reminds us, “My people perish for the lack of knowledge.”
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, go to her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.