World Health Day: 5 Steps for Type 2’s to Strive for Healthcare Equity

World Health Day is every April 7th and each year there is a new focus, on which the global community wants to highlight. This year it’s about creating health equity. The World Health Organization discusses, “some people are able to live healthier lives and have better access to health services than others - entirely due to the conditions in which they are born, grow, live, work and age.” But, what specifically can you do, as part of the type 2 community?

How can people with type 2 support each other and strive for healthcare equity? 

According to the CDC, “Among the US population overall, crude estimates for 2018 were: • 34.2 million people of all ages—or 10.5% of the US population—had diabetes.” While the World Health Organization states that, “About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries”.    

There are many ways that you can contribute to World Health Day, specifically to the diabetes community. Whether you choose to support a local community or a worldwide initiative there is a need to create an educated, supportive, strong community amongst type 2’s and all people living with diabetes. 

1. Write a formal letter.

First, you can reach out to policymakers, locally and globally about funding research - for example the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, or the National Diabetes Prevention Program.  To start your letter, here are some great tips from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: 

  1. Identify and analyze your audiences 
  2. Define your communication objectives 
  3. Decide on the messages to convey to your audiences 
  4. Select the channels to use

Whether it is to achieve more visibility around type 2, gain support for community events and funding, or to persuade them to make changes to policy and law, writing a formal letter policy makers is a great place to start in creating health change. Continue to strive to get their support while also seeking out opportunities that might be closer to home.

2. Volunteer at an event… or make your own

Internationally, there are many events that support research and community surrounding type 2. These events are designed not only to fundraise while bringing us together to engage in a shared fitness and community event - for example the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes event. There are camps, cycling events, walkathons, and many other ways to get moving while supporting each other while funding research and growing community awareness. 

3. Connect with the community. 

Supporting others with type 2 specifically in the areas of stress and community outreach is a direct way to help.

There are many people isolated or who are living with type 2 who have not found a community base or the support that they need to continue striving towards a balanced and healthy lifestyle, or to manage stress and anxiety of maintaining type 2. “The percentage of adults with diabetes increased with age, reaching 26.8% among those aged 65 years or older.”  

A great way could be to help connect family members virtually. There are many people feeling lost in this growth of technology over the last two decades but especially this year when virtual means safe. Reach out to your family and friends and see if you can help get people connected by downloading some of the resources people need like zoom, or skype to be able to reconnect with the technological world we are living in, in 2021.

With April also being global Stress Awareness Month, we must recognize stress to be one of the biggest public health challenges of our time and its relationship with type 2. 

4. Reduce your stress.

We have heard it before that you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself - isn’t stress the same? Taking care of yourself and your stress levels will empower you to continue living your most healthy life, so that you can continue to support those around you. 

Best stress busters:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a balanced healthy diet
  • Reminder - Being creative, helping others and giving back helps reduce your own stress

5. Continue to Learn

Education and continued education is the best way to combat any inequalities, including health inequality. Stay up to date on the latest in news and resources on diabetes. The more you know, the more empowered you can be to live a healthy lifestyle and the more you can empower others.

So, what message can you send and share? Write letters or emails to your local and national policymakers about your experiences with type 2. Find a way to reach out with those who are isolated, join our community Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together.  How can you best spend your time? Get moving and join or volunteer for one of your local or international events.  But first, keep taking good care of yourself.