Friday, October 14, 2011

Overcoming the challenges that come with diabetes is a common adversity in the African-American community. According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans in the United States are 1.8 times more likely to have the disease as other ethnic groups, and 25 percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have the disease. Actor-comedian Anthony Anderson was diagnosed 15 years ago with type-2 diabetes, and his personal struggles have encouraged him to spread awareness via the Fearless African-Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) Diabetes initiative.

HuffPost Black Voices recently caught up with the former "Law & Order" actor, who spoke candidly about his experience with the metabolic disorder, as well as his tribute to late comedian Bernie Mac, the status of "Scary Movie 5" and bringing diversity to the Golf Channel.

Can you talk about your involvement with the Fearless African-Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) Diabetes initiative?
I teamed up with Eli Lilly, who created the F.A.C.E. program to help bring awareness and educate our community about type-2 diabetes. Being a type-2 diabetic myself, having lost a father to the disease, having my mother diagnosed with it as well, I'm all too familiar with it.

What are some of the tips that you're sharing with people in order to help prevent the disease and to live a healthy lifestyle?
The first thing is they should go to the doctor for yearly check-ups. That's what we need to do as a whole. And speaking to African-American men in particular, we need to start going to the doctor. My father had diabetes; we don't know how long he had it before he was diagnosed with it. So that's first and foremost. But with type-2 diabetes, it's all about lifestyle. Eating too much of the wrong things and not balancing that out with exercise. So that's what I would tell people to do: Eat healthier, eat less than what you normally put into your system, and balance that out with walking around your neighborhood or the park.

How did you initially discover that you were a type-2 diabetic?
I had the symptoms that everybody else has: being tired, taking mid-day naps all of a sudden, cotton mouth, constantly thirsty, going to the restroom to no end. And then it came to mind for me when I began drinking five gallons of water in the amount of two and a half hours. I was like, "All right, I have to go ahead to the doctor now." And that's when they diagnosed me....more

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