The racial health disparity surrounding diabetes is on the rise. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, in the U.S. Black adults are almost twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes in comparison to white adults. Actress Viola Davis is utilizing her platform as an avenue to spread awareness about this matter in hopes of reversing this alarming trend. She recently joined forces with the pharmaceutical company Merck to narrate a documentary that captures how the disease is impacting communities across the country, PR Newswire reported.
The film—titled A Touch of Sugar—is a part of a larger initiative led by Merck called America’s Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday. For Davis, the diabetes struggle is personal. She herself has prediabetes, two of her sisters were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and one of her family members died after battling with the disease.
“I’m one of the 84 million American adults living with prediabetes and I’m sharing my story for the first time in an effort to inspire others to take action against the type 2 diabetes epidemic,” she said in a statement. “My sisters are both struggling with type 2 diabetes and my aunt also died from complications of the disease. Growing up, we just said they had ‘the sugar,’ which didn’t sound that concerning. But, when you look at the facts, there’s nothing harmless about diabetes – it’s a chronic disease that needs to be taken seriously if we’re going to get it under control.”
The film explores how culture and socio-economic issues are intertwined with the epidemic. Conrod Kelly who serves as the Executive Director of the Diabetes Franchise at Merck says the film was created to put “a much-needed spotlight on the real people affected by it firsthand,” and hopes that it inspires people to take action.
Films like A Touch of Sugar are needed to spread awareness about the ever-growing epidemic. According to the news outlet, 30 million adults in the U.S. are living with diabetes.