Rep. Cummings Urges Black Community To Address Diabetes Risk by Making Lifestyle Changes
"Diabetes poses a serious threat to [the black] community. We must do everything possible to stop our loved ones from living and dying this way," Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) writes in an opinion piece in the Louisiana Weekly.
Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among blacks, and more than three million blacks have diabetes, nearly twice the rate among whites, Cummings says. In addition, those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than those without diabetes, and blacks are "even more susceptible to these complications than our white counterparts," Cummings writes.
Many of the factors contributing to diabetes are preventable, he says. According to Cummings, blacks' "traditional diet" is a major contributor to this disparity. He writes, "How we eat is all too often related to how we die; we must change our lifestyles now in order to save our lives later." Cummings adds, "By choosing to move more and eat less, we can extinguish our vulnerability to this disease and prevent it from extinguishing us."
Cummings notes that there is a "national movement to make healthy foods available to every American child" and that he has been working with his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus to address nutrition issues through legislation. He writes, however, "Passing legislation is not enough. We must also rise up together as a community and educate our loved ones about the causes and risks associated with our daily diets" (Cummings, Louisiana Weekly, 12/10).