Kick the Can & California Center for Public Health Advocacy Family--Leading by Example!
by Sergio Zepeda, CCPHA Community Engagement Assistant
I wanted to take a moment to share my daughter’s recent battle with sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.
Maya is an 11 year old 7th grader, 5’10” (no surprise with a 6’4” dad), and queen of her dad’s heart . About 8 weeks ago I noticed dark pigmentation at the base of her neck (which can be a warning sign of Type II Diabetes). Taking into account Maya’s weight and the fact that 80% of the adult women in her maternal and paternal extended family have Type II Diabetes, I feared the worst. In our meeting with the Kaiser pediatrician, the doctor explained the road ahead, and let Maya know that this would be a battle that Maya would have to take the lead on for the remainder of her life. The pediatrician then challenged Maya by giving her 6 weeks to prove her determination and effectuate change in her lifestyle before running any tests and issuing a diagnosis.
As a familiar face around the office, Maya has come to know our work to reduce sugary drink consumption and educate others about SSB dangers. She instantly knew that soda and her Starbucks decaf caramel macchiato had to go. Following the example of the women she saw in the SoCal CCPHA office, she started carrying her water bottle everywhere she went and now always orders water as her drink when eating out. When we returned to the pediatrician yesterday, she had lost 10 lbs. and her blood glucose was in normal range! We are still waiting for results on liver and thyroid function, but the pediatrician did not anticipate any issues. The only recommendation was to keep doing what she is doing.
I don’t have enough words to fully express my gratitude for the knowledge gained in my time here at CCPHA that allowed me to recognize the threat of diabetes in Maya and the influence had on her in leading by example and helping her take control of her health.
Thank you, thank you, thank you !!!!!