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Celebrities, Flavor Flav, Dana Dane, Clint Smith, and More, Join ‘Check Your Risk’ Campaign

Updated: 11/15/21 1:00 pmPublished: 11/15/21
By Julia Kenney

For National Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Month, the “Check Your Risk Campaign” is encouraging people to take an eight-question test to identify their risk for diabetes. A number of hip hop celebrities have joined on to help spread the word about the importance of diabetes prevention.

When professional bass player and music producer Clint “Payback” Sands was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, he encouraged his close friends “to go to the doctor and get checked out now.” After seven of his friends took Sands’s advice, all but one realized they also had diabetes.

More than 1 in 5 people with diabetes do not know they have it. When prediabetes and diabetes go undiagnosed, those individuals are not able to get the care they need, and it can increase a person’s risk for severe health complications.

Sands has experienced a series of diabetes-related health complications, including a partial amputation of two toes and retinopathy. When he realized the prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes in his community, Sands was motivated to raise awareness about the importance of diabetes detection and prevention through the “Check Your Risk” Campaign.

For this National Diabetes Awareness and Prevention month, the “Check Your Risk” campaign is encouraging people to take a short 8-question survey, created by the CDC, to assess their risk for diabetes. The test involves questions about your age, sex, family health history, and other potential risk factors for diabetes. Those who take the test are then recommended to take their results with them to their annual health check-up and are connected with online diabetes prevention and health programs.

For many people, type 2 diabetes “is preventable and reversible” said “Check Your Risk” and Preventive Lifestyle Assistance Network (PLAN) founder Marci Kenon. Kenon created the campaign along with Alicia Hollins, founder of The Eight, a California-based community service organization, to improve type 2 diabetes detection and prevention efforts in underserved communities. “I’m really looking at [reaching] Black and brown people in urban areas,” Kenon said, adding that these communities make up the majority of type 2 diabetes diagnoses in the US.

To connect with those most at risk for diabetes, Kenon, Hollins, and Sands have relied heavily on influencers and celebrities to create “Check Your Risk” promotional videos. The videos feature a series of artists, largely in hip hop and R&B, encouraging people to go check their risk for diabetes. Artists including Ms. Toi, Chubb Rock, Coolio, Dana Dane, Kid Frost, Kurupt of Tha Dog Pound and Flavor Flav have all joined the campaign.“ We know the power of influencers to aid in our mission to eradicate diabetes.” said Hollins. The “Check Your Risk” team ultimately hopes to reach one million people to help drive diabetes prevention and detection efforts.

Those involved in the campaign believe that understanding your risk for diabetes is a vital first step in preventing the disease and related health complications. “Knowing your risk can save your life,” said Sands, who has openly shared his diabetes management journey with his followers and encourages others with diabetes to do the same.

What can you do to support diabetes prevention and detection? Share the Check Your Risk” survey with your networks. If you want to learn more about the racial disparities that plague the diabetes community, read, “How Race and Ethnicity Affect Diabetes Prevalence, Management, and Complications.” Plus, learn how members of the diabetes community and researchers are working to address these disparities by checking out, “Racial Disparities in Diabetes Technology and Care.

The campaign is also hosting an event with The Suga Project Foundation on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. CT called “Suga in Your Neighborhood.”

“The event is all about how to create a meaningful and collaborative relationship with each of the healthcare providers that play a role in your diabetes care,” said founder of The Suga Project Foundation, Natalie Pauls. You can register for the event here.

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About the authors

Julia joined the diaTribe Foundation in 2020 after graduating with a degree in Political Science and International Relations from Carleton College. Throughout her studies, Julia developed an interest in the... Read the full bio »