Here, Tuckson explains the goal of his partnerships and what he’s doing to make sure everyone understands why diabetes should not be a major health challenge in our community.
With all the information available about the disease, what are we missing? The numbers seem to be increasing, particularly for African Americans.
Having the information is the first step, but the challenge is getting people to act on it, and the barriers to acting on that information are complex and challenging. We can say to someone that they should really eat a healthy diet that is not filled with high calories and excess fat. You can tell people, “Here is what you should eat.” But for so many people in America and especially for African Americans, we live in communities where you don’t have affordable access to healthy foods. In fact, there is extraordinary access to affordable unhealthy foods. So to go from the recommendation to action, you have to overcome that fact that it’s hard in many places to actually find affordable salad. It’s very easy to find an affordable cheeseburger. Grocery stores in our community don’t have healthy foods.
The socioeconomic issue is understandable, but considering the consequences of the disease, why is adopting a healthier lifestyle difficult for business professionals who can afford to make the change?
We’re living busy lives and people are rushing from here to there. We’re not taking the time to eat a healthy meal because we’re moving at a fast-food pace. Part of what we’re learning is that a lot of people don’t know how to cook healthy food anymore. We’ve cut out the educational part of cooking in our schools, and even when you put fresh fruits and vegetables in the supermarket, sometimes they don’t sell because people don’t know how to use them. That becomes a challenge.
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