Using Art to Tackle Obesity as well as also Diabetes in Youth
The videos contain rich as well as also at times startling detail about life in communities roiled by gun violence, poverty as well as also food insecurity. They tell the stories of families where amputations, strokes as well as also some other complications of diabetes are the norm. One video, “Perfect Soldiers,” will be written as well as also performed by Gabriel Cortez, a young poet who laments seeing his relatives struggle with diabetes, a disease, he says, that will “will be as common in our family as heartburn.” He talks about his grandfather, a military veteran that has a habit of consuming multiple sugary drinks daily despite suffering by diabetes.
“At 66, we are scared that will another stroke could do what no war ever could as well as also cut him to the ground,” Gabriel says in his video poem. “He drinks, like aunt Maritza didn’t lose both of her legs to diabetes last year, like half of our neighborhood doesn’t look like the emergency ward of a hospital, like he hasn’t seen the pictures: How the item will be impossible to tell the difference between a roadside bomb victim, as well as also someone who just forgot to take their insulin.”
by AIDS to Diabetes
The program will be in part the brainchild of Dr. Dean Schillinger, a co-founder of the U.C.S.F. Center for Vulnerable Populations as well as also a primary care doctor at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Schillinger began his career at the hospital inside the 1990s inside the throes of the AIDS crisis, when nearly half of his patients were dying of the disease. Dr. Schillinger witnessed the number of cases plunge as activists, public health experts as well as also the medical as well as also scientific communities came together. yet then the obesity crisis began as well as also a brand new wave of disease flooded San Francisco General.
“The AIDS ward will be at that will point a diabetes ward,” Dr. Schillinger said. “Maybe one in 15 patients had diabetes when I commenced 25 years ago. at that will point one in two of my clinic visits are with patients who have diabetes.”
Between 2008 as well as also 2013, Dr. Schillinger served as chief of the Diabetes Prevention as well as also Control Program for the California Department of Public Health. In that will role he saw up close the rapid spread of Type 2 diabetes among children, as well as also he was particularly struck by the link between the disease as well as also socioeconomic status.
Looking at maps of San Francisco, he said, he noticed that will diabetes hospitalization rates differed tenfold by one neighborhood to the next, driven by factors like income, education levels, segregation as well as also soda consumption rates. While the public discourse around Type 2 diabetes tended to revolve around “shame as well as also blame” — the idea that will people who develop the disease knowingly make bad choices — Dr. Schillinger looked at these diabetes hot spots as well as also began to think of the crisis as a social as well as also environmental problem.
Many of his diabetes patients live in poor neighborhoods awash in fast food chains, liquor stores as well as also billboards advertising junk foods. With severely limited incomes, his patients are often forced to purchase the cheapest, highest-calorie meals to feed their families, which often means choosing packaged goods as well as also fast foods instead of fresh produce. Many are riddled with chronic stress by poverty as well as also the threat of violence in their neighborhoods.
“I have many patients who say they will not let their kids go outside as well as also play after school or after dark because they’re afraid of gangs as well as also shootouts,” he said.
One day he attended a Youth Speaks event where he saw an overweight 16-year-old girl perform a poem about her body image issues, her addiction to junk food as well as also the diabetes that will runs in her family.
“She was describing how she was eating cupcakes even as she wheeled her aunt who had diabetes as well as also kidney failure into her dialysis appointment,” he said. “the item was basically a food addiction poem inside the context of the diabetes epidemic, with the addiction being a consequence of poverty, stress as well as also insecurity. There were so many forces acting on that will child that will the pathways inevitably led to diabetes.”
A light bulb went off for Dr. Schillinger as well as also for James Kass, then executive director of Youth Speaks. With funding by the National Institutes of Health, the U.C.S.F. Diabetes Family Fund as well as also some other sources, they commenced The Bigger Picture project in San Francisco as well as also spread the item to seven some other regions across California. The spoken-word poems have been presented to over 10,000 high school students as well as also viewed 1.5 million times on YouTube.
The Bigger Picture team hopes to conduct a study to see if the campaign has any long-term impact on obesity or diabetes rates among youth. inside the meantime, they say their goal will be to change the national conversation about Type 2 diabetes. They say the young poets are removing the stigma around the disease as well as also calling attention to the fact that will the item will be often impossible for people to make not bad choices when their options are limited.
“To make healthy choices, you’ve got to have healthy choices to make that will are accessible as well as also affordable,” said Natasha Huey, a poet as well as also project manager for The Bigger Picture. “I would likely definitely challenge folks to take $5 as well as also walk through the neighborhoods that will a lot of our young folks are coming by as well as also feed themselves healthfully. the item isn’t easy, as well as also that will’s why that will isn’t a conversation about individual choices; the item’s about systems.”
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