From Anthony Carter, Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, Johnson & Johnson
Chronic disease is a serious problem for our healthcare system and the nation. Few communities have been more seriously impacted by the spread of chronic disease, and diabetes in particular, than the African American community. Diabetes now affects about 3.7 million African Americans, almost 15 percent of individuals over the age of 20, and it is responsible for one out of every five deaths.
In an effort to help fight this epidemic, Johnson & Johnson and its affiliates are supporting launch of the Spirit of Healthy Living (SoHL) program with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. The goal of SoHL is to promote diabetes education and awareness and give people the tools they need to prevent and manage this disease.
The SoHL educates community members about obesity, diabetes and the link between the two conditions. The program also increases awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, encourages the use of local health and wellness resources to prevent and manage diabetes, and integrates online health coaching into health education sessions.
One other component of the Spirit of Healthy Living campaign that I really enjoy is our partnership with faith-based health ministries. We know that supportive community based programs can have a positive impact on the way people behave, so we think this approach is very promising.
Our first SoHL event was held on June 26 at the Willing Heart Community Care Center in Newark, New Jersey. It was an exciting event with dozens of people from the community coming out to hear presentations from leading health experts, watch cooking and fitness demonstrations, and participate in free health screenings.
I know personally the devastating impact diabetes has on families and friends after losing a brother last year to this disease, and that’s why I think this campaign is so important. The SoHL offers us the opportunity to address the healthcare disparities that affect African Americans and it’s an important part of our commitment to the prevention and management of chronic disease. I’m excited to be a part of this program and I’ll be looking forward to more great events like the one we held in Newark.
If you’d like to learn more about the Spirit of Healthy Living Campaign visit their website.