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Diabetes program coming to free health expo on August 23

 

July 22, 2008



An out-of-the-box program that combines beauty demos, style advice, music and games with diabetes education for women, will be coming to Pittsburgh on Saturday Aug. 23.

DIVABETIC™ is the brainchild and the passion of Max Szadek, the former personal assistant to the late R & B artist Luther Vandross. Mr. Vandross died in 2005 of complications due to diabetes. Mr. Szadek designed DIVABETIC's presentation, ‘DIVA 4 Ever' to be upbeat, interactive and sassy. ‘DIVA 4 Ever' gets your attention with games, beauty services and prize giveaways and simultaneously incorporates education on healthy living.

“Living with diabetes doesn't have to get you down,” Mr. Szadek said. “It doesn't mean a woman has to stop living a glamorous life. There's a critical need to teach people about diabetes management in a new way, without the ho-hum presentation.”

DIVABETIC uses models like Aida Romaine. Mr. Szadek calls her “the most glamorous human salad.” Romaine, in her all-green outfit, inspires her audience to ‘grab greens.' She counsels her audience to become a better eater, not necessarily a perfect eater.

Diabetes is the nation's seventh deadliest disease, killing more than 210,000 Americans each year, and is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, adult blindness, kidney failure and non-traumatic amputations. African Americans are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes-related blindness, 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to suffer from lower limb amputations, and 2.6 to 5.6 times more likely to suffer from kidney disease.

“Diabetes affects the African American community almost twice as hard as it does the general population,” said Mr. Szadek. “Twenty-five percent of the African American community between the ages of 56 and 74 has diabetes.”

This year's workshop, Don't “Sugar-Coat” Diabetes: The Truth about Diabetes in the African American Community, will feature community members and healthcare professionals.

“Since 2006, almost 5,000 women affected by diabetes have experienced this diva brand of diabetes outreach. We've found that intimate conversations, along with beauty services, music and fun can have an amazing impact on a woman's attitude about diabetes and lift her spirits,” Mr. Szadek said.

The Expo is a joint program of the American Diabetes Association and WTAE-TV. It is free and will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on August 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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