BY Shamil Hameed and Thomas Kendziora
The Bigger Picture, a collaboration between youth poetry program Youth Speaks and the University of California, San Francisco's Center for Vulnerable Populations, is on a mission to combat the growing problem of Type 2 Diabetes. Young poets are given a virtual platform to speak out on the issue, and the effects thus far have been overwhelmingly positive. According to a clicker survey, the number of students who believed that Type 2 Diabetes can be caused by social and environmental factors increased from 34 percent before the videos were shown at a school assembly to 83 percent afterwards, and the number who said they "cared a lot" about the issue rose from 29 to 59 percent.
Type 2 Diabetes disproportionately affects those in low socioeconomic standing is a social issue
The general perception surrounding the disease is that it's a fat people problem, brought on by poor health choices such as high-calorie diets and lack of exercise. However, according to the Diamondback, perceptions will change "once one can see diabetes in its socioeconomic framework — tying together the lack of access to healthy foods, health care, education and wealth."
The disease is much more prevalent among minorities and lower-class individuals, as Hispanics were found to have 12.8 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, and non Hispanic blacks were found to have 13.2 percent higher risk of being diagnoses with the disease.
“Diabetes is what tobacco was to the 20th century,” said Dave Schillinger, a practicing physician and professor at UC San Francisco. “It’s a 21st-century epidemic.”
Youth Speaks has been giving young poets a platform for nearly two decades
The organization was founded in San Francisco in 1996, and since its inception has championed an increasingly global movement. The organization is focused on providing a platform for youth to speak out against various, to which one of them they are currently working on, is to raise awareness for diabetes.