Nov 12, 2013
By Angela Brock
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and The Diabetes Institute at Ohio University is hosting several events to observe the month, including two events in honor of World Diabetes Day on Thursday.
Led by the International Diabetes Federation and its member associations, World Diabetes Day engages millions of people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness. World Diabetes Day is held annually on Nov. 14.
The Diabetes Institute at Ohio University is sponsoring "Unite for Diabetes" from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Bicentennial Park (the field in front of Walter Hall, also known as Punchcard Park) on the Athens Campus. During the event, attendees are asked to wear blue – the official color of the diabetes awareness movement – and will form a human circle around the park. A blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes. A group photo of the human circle at OHIO will be taken and entered into the International Diabetes Day Blue Circle Competition.
"Unite for Diabetes" will be followed by "Take a Step for Diabetes." This nighttime walk event will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., beginning at the entrance to the bike path near Peden Stadium. All walkers will receive blue glow sticks to symbolize walkers as a light of hope for diabetes.
The event will kick off with opening remarks from Dr. Jay Shubrook, director of the clinical division at The Diabetes Institute, director of the Diabetes Fellowship Program, and director of clinical research and associate professor of family medicine at OHIO's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. In addition to his clinical and administrative duties, Shubrook conducts research focusing on the systematic improvement of clinical diabetes management.
Nearly 26 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and another 79 million U.S. adults have pre-diabetes, a condition that increases their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and even death.
"We felt it was critical for The Diabetes Institute to join efforts to promote Diabetes Awareness Month in general as well as to tell the story of diabetes in this region," said Darlene Berryman, director of OHIO's Diabetes Institute.
"In Athens County, the rates of diabetes and obesity have been increasing annually – each by about 1 percent every year – and are higher than many areas in this state and nation," Berryman said. "So if you don't have the condition now, a family member likely does or you or a loved one is likely to already have pre-diabetes. But even if it doesn't touch your family directly, there is a community, economic and social impact of this condition for which we all need to be aware. Importantly, awareness and education can make a difference with not only treatment but prevention of this condition. So these events are meant to educate and raise awareness and to educate the community."
The Diabetes Institute at Ohio University brings together people and programs from the Heritage College, the College of Health Sciences and Professions and the community to improve the quality of life for those affected by diabetes and related diseases through innovative basic and translational research, progressive clinical care, education and community outreach. The Diabetes Institute is administratively housed in the Heritage College, with financial and personnel resources contributed by the College of Health Science and Professions, the Edison Biotechnology Institute, and the Office of Vice President for Research and Creative Activity. Additional funding for the Diabetes Institute comes from the historic $105 million gift to the Heritage College from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations.
For more information on other Diabetes Awareness Month activities at OHIO, visit http://www.ohio.edu/diabetes/Diabetes-Awareness.cfm.