People with type 2 diabetes may be closer to home than you think. In Maryland, an estimated 9 percent of adults have the disease. The good news is there are steps you can take to reduce your risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and the Center on Health Disparities at Adventist HealthCare is committed to helping our community do just that!

Know Your Risk Factors

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Age (individuals 45 years and older are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes)
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity

Individuals from racial and ethnic minorities are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes:

  • American Indians/Alaska Natives =16%
  • African Americans=12.6%
  • Latinos=11.8%
  • Asian Americans=8.4%
  • Whites=7.1%.

African immigrants in particular are more likely to develop diabetes compared to U.S.-born citizens, and have higher chances of experiencing complications of diabetes such as heart or kidney disease and stroke.

Reduce Your Risk

Watch Your Weight: Moderate weight loss (5 to 7 percent of total body weight), can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes among adults who are at high-risk of developing the condition.

Exercise:  Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day five days a week is a great way to help with weight loss and reducing your risk of diabetes 2.

Eat a healthier diet: Eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fats and high in fiber. Baking, roasting, or broiling foods is a good way to reduce saturated fats. For more fiber, focus on eating more whole grains and soluble fiber such as fruits and beans.

Most importantly, talk to your doctor about how to control your blood sugars through diet, exercise, and prescription medicines, if necessary.

How We Are Helping

Project BEAT IT! (Becoming Empowered Africans Through Improved Treatment of Diabetes, Hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS) is a new initiative at the Center on Health Disparities that promotes cultural competency among health-care providers and empowers African immigrants to take charge of their health. BEAT IT training for health-care providers focuses on cultural awareness, effective communication, and patient-centered care when treating African immigrants.  The program also provides health education classes to increase knowledge and promote successful disease management among African immigrants living with type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about BEAT IT! watch this video or visit Check out photos below from our latest BEAT IT Education Class for health-care providers!

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Sources: CDC, American Academy of Family Physicians, National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, American Diabetes Association, and Washington and Shady GroveAdventistHospitals. For additional information, consult your physician.