November is National Diabetes Awareness month. According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. If current trends continue, as many as 1 in 3 adults in the US could have diabetes by 2050. Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood stands out with shocking diabetes mortality numbers – at a level more than three times the rate of the national average. Despite the alarming statistics, there are hopeful deviations. Local support organizations provide neighborhoods with information about the disease as well as preventive measures one can take.
Data obtained from Sinai Health Systems ‘Improving Community Health Survey’ indicates “the prevalence in this community of Puerto Ricans in Chicago – 20.8% – is the highest diabetes prevalence we have been able to locate for Puerto Ricans, and is twice as high as findings for Puerto Ricans living on the island or in New York City.” Contributing factors include a family history of diabetes and obesity, which are both currently widespread.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging residents to commit to lifestyle changes like becoming physically active, eating healthier and quitting smoking. Simplifying cooking methods like sautéing, grilling and baking, instead of frying, will also reap great benefits. Consistency is the key to forming healthy habits which will lead to permanent changes.
The Humboldt Park Community Campaign against Diabetes, also known as 72 Block-By-Block, is hosting a Diabetes Awareness Forum on Nov. 14 at Iglesia Rebaño Companerismo Cristiano (2435 West Division). The organization is focused on spreading awareness through education and prevention programs. For more information on events scheduled throughout November, visit www.diabetes.org.
This post is also available in: Spanish