Public Health Advocates Put a Spotlight on Food for American Diabetes Month 2015

November 2, 2015

Nearly 30 million children and adults in the U.S. are affected by diabetes. Of those 30 million, close to one million live in Georgia with that number rising each year.

November is American Diabetes Month and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is working with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the Diabetes Association of Atlanta to educate the public about diabetes prevention and managing the disease.

According to the ADA, diabetes is when blood glucose, also referred to as blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is the main type of sugar found in blood and the body’s main source of energy. Blood carries glucose to all of the body’s cells to use for energy. Glucose comes from food that is consumed and produced in the liver and muscles.

The effects of diabetes can be vast as it takes a toll on many aspects of a person’s health. Diabetes nearly doubles the risk for heart attack and death from heart disease. It is also a leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of blindness.

This year, ADA’s American Diabetes Month theme “Eat Well, America!” focuses on eating a well-balanced diet to manage or prevent diabetes. Enjoying delicious, healthy food supports diabetes management when coupled with maintaining an active lifestyle and following other positive health behaviors recommended by a physician. 

DPH’s Diabetes and Vision Program Manager, Allison Smith, MPH, CHES, stresses the importance of healthy eating to effectively prevent or manage diabetes.

“We all hear about the importance of eating well, but the significance of a proper diet is magnified when considering diabetes,” said Smith. “The foods we put into our bodies can affect our blood glucose levels as well as blood pressure – two factors that play an important role in diabetes. With the right diet, commitment and support system, we believe every Georgian can live a healthy life while enjoying flavorful foods, fueling our bodies and reducing the burden of diabetes in Georgia.”

In addition to eating fewer carbohydrates, ADA recommends people living with or at risk for diabetes consume more vegetables, whole grain foods and low-carbohydrate food options. For those that need more support in developing a meal plan, they can consult with a registered dietician to receive customized counseling and tips on how to enjoy the foods they love while keep health top-of-mind.

“What is great about this year’s American Diabetes Month theme is that healthy eating is an important lesson for everyone,” she said. “We all can benefit from learning how take control of our eating habits and making small, manageable changes that help us lead a healthy life.”

To raise awareness on preventing and managing diabetes, there are several events happening in Georgia throughout November in support of American Diabetes Month:

  • Nov. 7 – “Victory Over Diabetes,” hosted by The American Diabetes Association in Macon, Ga.
  • Nov. 7 – Georgia Diabetes Symposium, hosted by The Diabetes Association of Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga.
  • Nov. 14 – World Diabetes Day
  • Nov. 14 – DAWGS Support Group Walk in Waycross, Ga.
  • Nov. 14 – Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes at Turner Field, hosted by The American Diabetes Association in Atlanta, Ga. 

To participate in these events or learn more about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association online at www.diabetes.org. For more information on diabetes self-management in Georgia, visit DPH online at www. dph.georgia.gov/diabetes

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