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ID Day takes diabetes to church
For many people who make Sunday worship a part of their weekly routine, healthy living and diabetes education became a part of that ritual last month during the American Diabetes Association's ID Day at Church. The event brought a national ADA campaign known as "I Decide to Fight Diabetes" into churches and surrounding communities. Officially the first Sunday of November, ID Day at Church was recognized by churches throughout the month.
Across the country, more than 1,030 churches of various denominations participated in the second annual ID Day, providing diabetes education to more than 200,000 people. It's all a part of ADA's Project POWER program, which brings diabetes education to churches year-round.
In the Chicago area, more than 50 churches participated this year, says Janeé Johnson, associate director of African American initiatives for ADA in Northern Illinois and Northern Indiana. Places of worship, she explains, serve a particularly central role in distributing information within the African American community, which has a higher prevalence of and risk for diabetes compared with other ethnic groups.
"The African American church is a natural place to share information," Johnson says. "Faith leaders want to make sure that health messages are shared within their congregations; they recognize that their congregants aren't healthy."
"One pastor, who has participated [in Project POWER] for 5 years, told me that 75 to 80 percent of the funerals he presided over were due to diabetes-related deaths," she adds. "He wants to make sure this type of education continues."
For Audrey Ramsey, an ambassador for the program at Rock of Ages church in Chicago, ID Day is an opportunity to share information that she wishes she had received years ago. "When I had my first daughter 24 years ago I had gestational diabetes, and 20 years later I [was diagnosed with type 2]," she says. "I was out of control and not doing what I should have done." Project POWER, Ramsey believes, can help people struggling with the same problem to get back on track: "The teaching is so easy, and everybody can understand how you can control diabetes."