An insurgence of diabetes is seething through the African American community, and the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta are warning those who can be affected.
In a lecture given at the Student Activities Center on Friday, Oct. 25 , the sorority sponsors discussed how one could contract the disease, the precautions to take, and the consequences thereof.
According to the diabetes fact sheet distributed to each attendant, “In 1993, 1.3 million African Americans were known to have diabetes. This is almost three times the number of African Americans who were diagnosed with diabetes in 1963.”
The members of Delta Sigma Theta began the lecture by unmasking a few candid facts on diabetes.
For example, the likelihood of African Americans developing the disease is twice that of non-hispanic Caucasians; one in four African American women over 55 years of age has diabetes; diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States and it has no cure.
The audience viewed a brief video detailing the biological nature of diabetes and its affects on the human body, and then proceeded into a lecture on the types of food to avoid when dealing with this disease.
“If you drink 2 cups a day of that ghetto Kool Aid that we all like, 20 years from now it will equate to eating 5 pounds of sugar stuck in your arteries that you can not do anything about. Frosted Flakes plus vitamin D milk alone equals a cup of sugar,” said Danielle Battle, the leader of the discussion on nutrition.
“We want everyone to go away thinking that diabetes is a whole new lifestyle that we have to start now,” Battle explained.
After watching more footage detailing the two types of diabetes and its symptoms, audience members put all their freshly retained knowledge in action when given the opportunity to act out scenarios scripted around the potentially fatal illness.
Split up into three separate clusters, each group dramatized a realistic situation with content ranging from a child who contracts the disease to a character who has a diabetic seizure and her roommate also does not know what to do.
Although humorous at points, the issue of diabetes remained the central focus.
Given this chance to interact, audience members promptly spoke out on how they felt about dthe disease.
“I know we’re in college and I know we all party, [and] some people tend to drink heavily, but a lot of people do develop diabetes from the sugar that’s in alcohol,” said Sasha Roberts.
“So when you take a sip of that Moet remember that when you get older, all the drinking does catch up to you.”
Roberts continued, “A guy on my block, he was 20 years old, just gotten married and had a baby…they knocked down his door one day because nobody knew where he was, and found him dead. He didn’t know that he was diabetic…the disease is really serious.”
The sisters of Delta Sigma Theta concerned themselves with the effect that diabetes has on African American lives in order to forewarn those that still have the opportunity to save their lives.
“The reason why we got involved is because we all know that it effects African Americans in a way that it doesn’t effect anyone else,” said Andrea Ray of Delta Sigma Theta.
“In dealing with our physical and mental health with…the Delta sisters national programming system, we just wanted to basically talk on something that the campus never really touched on.”
Coryn Brown can be reached at McButtaflyz@aol.com