Two out of three people in America are obese, according to Leslie Lovely, certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian. That may come as no surprise, but obesity often causes the inability to produce insulin, which is called diabetes, Lovely said.

On average, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between the ages of 15 and 30 experience shorter lifespans, Lovely said. In contrast to previous generations, many people today develop diabetes earlier in life.

To celebrate World Health Day, research data librarian Peace Ossoman Williamson helped organize awareness booths in the Maverick Activities Center and Library Hall to advocate eating healthy through a balanced diet.

Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be prevented and even cured. People should be more aware of what they consume by reading the labels of what they buy at the store, naturopathic doctor Sarai Stuart said.

Avoiding things with high sugar and white flour will help reduce the risk of diabetes, Stuart said. She said it is important to keep in mind that carbohydrates convert to sugar. Lack of vitamins and minerals increases risk too. Stuart suggested eating natural food that has not been vitamin enriched.

Cooking foods at lower temperatures for longer periods maintains the nutrition, Stuart said. Many people don’t get in the sun, but getting out in the morning and evening sun can increase vitamin D levels. Stuart said eating instant meals and grabbing something for quick energy should be avoided as well.

In addition to paying attention to food, adequate exercise and sleep are important in diabetes prevention, Lovely said. Lack of these things contributes to the buildup of insulin resistance.

The hashtag #dontblamethepancake was used to reinforce that cutting one type of unhealthy thing or even cutting all unhealthy things is not the answer. Lovely supported this idea by saying a nutritionist can help budget different intakes based on a person’s body type.

Stuart encourages students to become empowered by educating themselves on what they’re eating.

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food,” Stuart said.


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