Commentary by Marcia Ellett
Diabetes is the sixth-leading cause of death worldwide, killing one person every six seconds and more than 5 million people annually—plenty of reasons for Lions Club International to make it a new area of focus. LCI is meeting this global health emergency head on by raising awareness of diabetes, expanding access to care through screening and treatment programs and improving quality of life for sufferers through special camps and recreational programs.
Approximately 750,000 people in Indiana have diabetes. That’s enough to fill Lucas Oil Stadium more than 10 times. Regretfully, up to half of those with diabetes do not even know they have it. So, Zionsville Lions Club chose to combat the rising diabetes epidemic in the community by selecting November, National Diabetes Awareness Month, to kick off a ZLC Diabetes Group.
The group, led by Zionsville Lions Club member Mel Prince, a retired senior medical director in diabetes for Eli Lilly & Co., will support LCI’s goal to raise awareness and improve education efforts around diabetes.
“The Zionsville Lions Club has a number of members, several who are dedicated health professionals or who are living with diabetes, that are passionate about educating the public on the risks of diabetes and the importance of a healthy diet and exercise,” Prince said. “We look forward to implementing activities in support of LCI’s diabetes mission over the coming months and to finding ways to utilize Lions Park in that endeavor.”
Add to this equation the fact that 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes (among them 1.9 million Hoosiers) and 90 percent don’t even know it, and the urgency to get the word out becomes even more apparent.
“We encourage everyone to take a diabetes risk assessment test, to see their physician if the test indicates a risk of diabetes, and to urge friends and loved ones to take the assessment test as well,” Prince said.
To take the online diabetes risk assessment test or download a printable version, visit diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/.
Marcia Ellett is a member of the Zionsville Lions Club.