An estimated 1.7 million New Yorkers are living with diabetes and 4.5 million are pre-diabetic, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“Diabetes continues to be a leading cause of death among New Yorkers, leaving a disproportionate impact on our Black, Latino, Asian and low-income communities,” said New York City council member and chair of the council committee on health, Lynn Schulman.
On Nov. 17, EmblemHealth, a nonprofit health insurer, held "Managing and Preventing Diabetes — An Educational Public Webinar." The event was part of the company's public education series, in partnership with Schulman.
“Prevention is key — being empowered to make healthy diet and exercise choices and consulting with health professionals is how our city can stay healthy this festive season and into the future,” Schulman said.
The event featured discussion from industry experts, including:
- Dr. Nicole Thomas-Sealey, vice president of clinical education with AdvantageCare Physicians
- Prasija Manoj, a nurse practitioner with AdvantageCare Physicians
- Erin Reddan, regional manager with EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care
- Aaron Turner-Phifer, director, health policy with JDRF
Along with covering common questions and concerns about diabetes, the webinar also focuses on maintaining diabetic health throughout the holiday season.
"Keeping close tabs on one's health or health condition is always challenging, but there is an added stress during this season, especially for those at risk of or with diabetes," Thomas-Sealey said
The webinar provides tips to maintain diabetic health during the holidays, which include:
- Use the 80/20 rule (80% healthy eating and 20% ‘cheat’ foods) in holiday diets
- Stay hydrated
- Aim for eight hours of sleep daily
- Get moving -- try chair yoga and take a walk after meals
- Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels
“Maintaining a healthy diet, proper exercise, and routine visits with your doctors during the holidays can be difficult for some. But for those with diabetes and prediabetes, it is critical,” Beth Leonard, EmblemHealth’s chief corporate affairs officer, said.
During the webinar, Tomas-Sealey also stresses the importance of COVID-19 and flu shots, noting that people with diabetes are more vulnerable to infection and have the highest rates of complications from these infections.
"Conversations like these should not stop here. They should be ongoing. Tapping into each other’s experience, knowledge, and expertise can hopefully make diabetes a thing of the past, so let’s continue the public dialogue,” Thomas-Sealey said.