Washington D.C. (PRWEB) December 6, 2006
Today, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Andy Mandell - Mr. Diabetes®, Executive Director of Defeat Diabetes Foundation, completed mile 8,000 of his 10,000+ mile walk of the perimeter of the United States to raise awareness about the disease that nearly took his life.
"It's really appropriate that I reach this milestone in our nation's capitol, since our elected officials are in the position to dedicate much needed resources to the prevention of this disease. And there is no doubt that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in nearly 90% of all cases," said Mandell. "The alternative is projected health care costs of over 1 trillion dollars annually to care for the nation's diabetics. You don't have to be a math whiz to figure out that this disease can and will bankrupt our healthcare system if we continue on the same path.
"The key to breaking this disease cycle is awareness, prevention and, when it's too late for that then, early detection and proper management to avoid the costly complications associated with this disease. All the research dollars being spent looking for a cure simply aren't going to keep people from getting this disease," said Mandell. "Top diabetes researchers agree with me that a cure is at least 20 years or more out. It's time to stop trying to convince folks that a cure is just around the corner. IT IS NOT!!! Prevention is the key and it's all about taking personal responsibility and making lifestyle changes. That's what the Wake Up and Walk® Tour is all about and why I've been out here walking and talking with the average guy-on-the-street."
Obesity and diabetes are inextricably linked. Yet, the necessary lifestyle changes are easier to make than you think; losing even 10 - 15 pounds can make all the difference. Start by cutting out fast food, snack foods and soda. Institute a family dinner hour and add 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes and whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice or barley to your diet each day.
It's also important to pursue a more active lifestyle -- Mr. Diabetes® recommends walking. "Unless you are severely disabled, walking is something that everyone can do. Start out with a minimum of ten minutes a day and increase the time gradually. In a short time you'll find you look forward to it. Many families can incorporate a walk before dinner. It's a great way to catch up with each others' lives and get healthier at the same time," says Mandell. "These simple steps can potentially stave off the onset of the disease and will certainly help minimize any of the complications. Of course, before starting any physical fitness program you should always work with your medical team to determine your fitness level."
Mr. Diabetes® follows his own advice and walks "daily", checks his blood glucose as many as ten times per day, eats a well balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and has medical oversight. In spite of that, he still suffers from some complications of the disease, including severe neuropathy (loss of feeling in the lower limbs), which requires him to use a walking pole for balance.
"People on the street are now taking THE WALK™, and me, more seriously because 8,000 miles is a pretty significant accomplishment - especially, by a senior citizen and an insulin-dependent diabetic; and no one can take that away. We've stuck with it and an amazing team of people behind me have helped make it happen," he concluded.
Before THE WALK began there wasn't nearly the focus and awareness about diabetes that exists today. Mandell would like to think that his efforts have had some impact on that. Clearly, THE WALK™ has captured the imagination of the public. Mr. Diabetes® has personally talked with tens of thousands of individuals who've shared their personal stories - many with tragic outcomes, but he's also provided a real human face that shows diabetics are neither helpless nor hopeless.
About the Wake Up and Walk Tour
THE WALK™ is a 10,000+ mile epic journey of the perimeter of the United States and is now in its 5th year. Defeat Diabetes Foundation Executive Director, Andrew P. Mandell - Mr. Diabetes®, is the sole walker (guest slots are accepted) -- You may have seen him in his brightly colored safety vest and walking pole being followed by an SUV that serves as support. He's walked through 28 states, crossed 80 major rivers, and walked through 4 time zones (twice!), gone through 20 pairs of walking shoes, and 4 Tour Managers. He has personally met and spoken with over 45,000 individuals one-on-one and been honored with 100 Proclamations by Senators, Congressmen, Governors and Mayors. Through appearances at hospitals, schools and civic organizations, and via media outreach he has reached over 50 million Americans; all to create awareness about an insidious epidemic: diabetes. The Mr. Diabetes Wake Up and Walk® Tour will continue through Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida before reaching the finish line in Madeira Beach, Florida sometime in the latter part of 2007.
Over 21 million people have the disease, and nearly one-third of all diabetics are undiagnosed. Another 54 million people are "pre-diabetics" who are unaware they are in danger of developing the disease. Diabetes comes with a host of severe complications, including adult blindness, amputations, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, Alzheimer's and a host of other equally devastating problems. Diabetes causes 215,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. More tragic, 90% of the time, Type 2 Diabetes is PREVENTABLE!
About Defeat Diabetes Foundation
Defeat Diabetes Foundation was established in 1990 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. Its mission is to inform, educate and alert the general public, diabetics, pre-diabetics and elected officials about the disease, its prevention and the consequences of undiagnosed and/or poorly managed diabetes. The Foundation provides accurate, up-to-date and practical information on the treatment and self-management of the disease, recommends diabetic-friendly products and services on their website and beneficial information through a free monthly online E-Lerts™ newsletter. They support public information programs, including the KIDD Project which has provided 3 million Free Defeat Diabetes® Screening Test brochures to 5000 schools in all 50 states, the DAN Project in memory of Dan Kerner, which has produced Public Service Announcements and, of course, The Mr. Diabetes Wake Up and Walk® Tour. For information on diabetes, to take the free screening test or obtain additional information visit: http://www.DefeatDiabetes.org