Men's basketball hosts diabetes event

The Blue Out Diabetes Event is the first event to incorporate diabetes awareness in conjunction with UA Athletics and campus, community and national partners. Blue Out Diabetes will occur at the men’s basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum.

Rebecca Kelly is the director of Health Enhancement Planning at the University, a diabetes educator for the past 10 years and a registered dietitian. She said she has been preparing for the event since November 2014. Undergraduate students Emily Capra, a senior majoring in nutrition, and Chris Lasecki, a senior majoring in biology, are working with Kelly to assist her in putting together the event.

“Everything has been coming together to increase the awareness of diabetes and the impact it has on our campus and in the community,” Kelly said. “Having the opportunity to work with UA Athletics, as we look at our excellence, academic and athletic programs, it’s wonderful to be able to reach a much 
broader audience.”

Approximately eight different partners will be represented at the event, Kelly said. Organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, the Tuscaloosa County Diabetes Coalition and the University Medical Center will be in attendance. The organizations will be handing out statistic sheets, and giving out information about health care providers who specialize in assisting patients with diabetes, said Lasecki.

“There are two simple messages we want to share with the attending audience about preventing type two diabetes,” Kelly said. “One: If you are overweight, it is recommended you lose five to ten percent of your body weight, over the course of six months. Two: Exercise over 150 minutes each week. Maintaining a healthy weight, a healthy diet and exercising will help prevent the onset of several chronic diseases, not just diabetes.”

According to Kelly’s research, one in three University of Alabama students will develop diabetes in their lifetime. This is over 12,000 UA students and over 1.6 million Alabamians.

Lasecki, Kelly’s research assistant and member of the Diabetes Education Team on campus, said Alabama has the highest rate of diabetes in the country.

“It is never too early to start thinking about diabetes,” Lasecki said. “Everybody could eat better, be more active and what better time than now to start doing that.”

The men’s basketball team and the Blue Out Diabetes planning committee invite all attendees to wear blue to the game, supporting and increasing 
diabetes awareness.

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