We pride ourselves as being the most diverse city in the country. But
there’s an unfortunate bond creating similarities among a growing
number of my fellow Houstonians. More than 30% have obesity and nearly
16% have diabetes.
People living with diabetes in Houston don’t always trust
traditional health systems. Trust can be found, however, in faith
communities. That’s where the new Faith & Diabetes Initiative,
which the Institute for Spirituality & Health (ISH) is leading
Changing Diabetes, comes in.
This is about more than just spreading the Good Word. Faith &
Diabetes empowers lay leaders of Houston churches, synagogues,
temples, mosques, and other places of worship to provide their own
congregations with support systems and evidence-based programs
traditionally found in healthcare settings.
So far 49 people representing 24 communities of faith have completed
Faith & Diabetes training, and are able to share diabetes
resources with more than 75,000 congregants.
Msemwa Kibodya, a lay leader in the Muslim community, completed the
Faith & Diabetes training in early 2018. “My family is changing
everything as a result,” she told the Houston
Chronicle. “We are exercising more, we are eating better — with
half a plate of vegetables, some protein and starch. Now [that] I know
what a balanced plate of food looks like, I have that plate in my head
when I cook. That was a huge moment for me, and I told my whole
family.” Msemwa now teaches the Faith & Diabetes program at
Houston mosques through Taiba USA, a Muslim women’s empowerment network.
It’s clear we need new approaches to health challenges like diabetes
and obesity. With the help of people like Msemwa, by meeting the
community where they are, thinking small, and tailoring
solutions, we hope to make a bigger difference where it counts.