National Diabetes Month

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marathon runner legsBy Michael C. Mack

November is National Diabetes Month in the United States. In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes. Here are a few ideas for your church or group:

• Host a family diabetes gathering. Invite a local representative from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) or a diabetes educator to speak and answer questions. Provide a healthy meal.

• Provide information about diabetes, which can be found on the ADA website, www.diabetes.org, or from a local office or a local endocrinology office. Help clear up many of the common myths about diabetes.

• Coordinate and join a local walk or other event for diabetes research. These are hosted in many cities by the ADA or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.jdrf.org). Check their websites for information.

• Help with grassroots marketing. According to Michelle Payne, the Louisville, Kentucky, director of development at the ADA, a need exists in many cities to reach ethnic communities.

The ADA website provides a breakdown of the rates of diagnosed diabetes by race/ethnic background: 7.6 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 9.0 percent of Asian Americans, 12.8 percent of Hispanics, 13.2 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, and 15.9 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives. Payne says many people in these ethnic communities don’t have the resources to get accurate information and medical help for prediabetes and diabetes for themselves and their children. Church groups can help by knocking on doors, organizing clinics, or hosting informational meetings where they can provide literature and other information.

—Contact the ADA for more information

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World AIDS Day, December 1

World AIDS Day is December 1. “[It] is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died,” says www.worldaidsday.org.

Since the early 1980s, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history, says the website.

What can you or your group, class, or team do?

• Pray for those living with HIV/AIDS.

• Wear a red ribbon to raise awareness and show lovingkindness for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

• Hold or participate in special informational events in your community.

• Team up to volunteer with local ministries or agencies that care for those living with HIV/AIDS.

• Start a support group for people in your area living with HIV/AIDS.

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