November is American Diabetes Month®, a time to communicate about the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of diabetes prevention and control. In concert with the other activities throughout the month, on November 10th, churches across the country will participate in celebration of I Decide to Stop Diabetes Day at Church (ID Day).
On ID Day, the American Diabetes Association mobilizes churches in the African American community and engages faith organizations in activities promoting health and wellness among their congregation. Churches large and small participate, and activities include incorporating diabetes awareness into the sermon, handing out educational materials and risk tests, promoting physical activity, and healthy cooking demonstrations, to name a few.
As a member of the Association’s African American Subcommittee, this celebration is critical in our efforts to Stop Diabetes®. Nearly five million African Americans have diabetes and they are almost twice as likely to have diabetes compared to the general population. Black churches are a trusted source of information for their community, and approximately 13 million African American households can be reached directly or indirectly through the church.
This year, in honor of it being the sixth anniversary of ID Day, we are asking churches to get their congregation moving and commit to:
- Walking six miles in six weeks.
- Losing six percent, as a team, of excess weight.
- Completing all Project Power modules in six weeks.
- Reserving two dates: On the first day, organize a sign up and kick-off celebration. Then, six weeks later, organize a time to check your congregation’s success and report the results!
ID Day is an extremely important part of a congregation’s vow to be healthy in body and soul, and can kick-start members to lead a healthier lifestyle. With the increasing number of type 2 diabetes being diagnosed in African American children, lifestyle changes are needed for our families, not just the individual. This program, along with other initiatives like Live Empowered and American Diabetes Month, aims to address the growing number of people living with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, and prediabetes.
The American Diabetes Association is an organization who supports and cares. We must take a stand to address diabetes in our families and communities. Thru early detection and treatment of the disease, knowledge really is power. The Association offers how-to guides for hosting awareness programs, as well as educational resources for participating churches. Our local offices are also available for guidance.
To learn more about ID Day and what activities are offered in your area, contact your local American Diabetes Association office at 1-888-DIABETES.
Ann Heard, RD, CDE, is a member of the Association’s African American Subcommittee and has more than 20 years of experience as a nutritionist and diabetes educator.