‘American Idol’ judge talks about diabetes

A diabetes diagnosis came as a surprise to an American Idol judge, even though he has a family history of it. He felt fine and thought it wouldn’t grab ahold of him. That was until Randy Jackson developed flu-like symptoms, was often dehydrated and

A diabetes diagnosis came as a surprise to an American Idol judge, even though he has a family history of it. He felt fine and thought it wouldn’t grab ahold of him.

That was until Randy Jackson developed flu-like symptoms, was often dehydrated and urinated more than usual.

“I was feeling more tired and like I was coming down with something. Maybe it was real bad cold, I thought. I was also going to the bathroom quite frequently. Actually too much,” Jackson told the Defender during a recent trip to the Chicagoland area to help promote Type 2 diabetes awareness.

Jackson, who also had weight loss surgery several years ago, said he knew the disease runs through his family but the thought of him being diagnosed never crossed his mind.

When he made that trip to the doctor to find out what could be behind the frequent urination and the constant feeling of being exhausted, his cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar was checked.

The outcome hit him like a ton of bricks. He was told he had Type 2 diabetes, the award-winning music producer said.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It develops when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t efficiently use the insulin it does make. It appears most often in middle-aged adults, according to IKnowDiabetes.org, the “Heart of Diabetes” campaign Jackson is a spokesperson for.

According to Diabetesmonitor.com, approximately 21 million Americans live with diabetes. Of that total, nearly three million Blacks have diabetes. On average, Black are twice as likely to have diabetes as whites of similar age.

Obesity is a major medical risk factor for diabetes in Blacks, especially for women. Some diabetes may be prevented with weight control through healthy eating and regular exercise, experts said.

Jackson said a lifestyle change was a top priority, and he now controls his diabetes through diet and exercise.

“I had to learn about healthy food choices and physical activities. It was hard at first to change my eating habits because it provided me with comfort. To make it worse, I wasn’t eating the healthiest foods,” he said.

Not one to like the word “diet” because of it’s restrictive nature, Jackson said he learned to scale down portions of his favorite foods and get an exercise routine that was suited for him.

He still ate the same meals and same desserts, but instead of heaping portions, he would have “a sliver of this and a sliver of that.”

“I was still able to enjoy the foods I loved, I just had to have much smaller portions. It works out very well for me. And, when you think about it, the small portions are all you need. A perfect example is a meal you will be served on an airplane. That’s all the meal you will need in one sitting,” Jackson said.

Exercising was another story.

Instead of hitting the gym all the time, he would incorporate “exercise” in his daily activities. Regular walking and chores done around the house can serve as physical activity–if you “jazz it up a bit,” Jackson said.

“Whatever you are doing throughout the course of your day, make it fun and physical. I think the words ‘diet’ and ‘exercise’ scare people who aren’t used to doing it or don’t want to do it. It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you do, just get moving, have fun and get your sweat on,” he said.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week.

For more information, visit www.IKnowDiabetes.org.

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Comments

From the Web