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  • Naidia Douglas-Sogunro

Road to Health Class

The road to health is a slow and steady one. Since its inception, CHEER's mantra and primary focus have been holistically improving individual and community health. Therefore, in keeping with its mandate, CHEER partnered with Holy Cross Hospital to offer a Road to Health class on Diabetes prevention this spring. Through strategic targeting of the Takoma Park community, CHEER successfully registered 20 participants, mainly Amharic speakers.

There were 20 participants, mostly Amharic speakers. Jenelle Crawford was the instructor, while Hana Taye, a community member, acted as a translator. The CHEER representative was Anthea Levy.

The class ran for nine sessions and was very successful. Participants were highly engaged and easily learned how to incorporate healthy eating to support lifestyle changes. In addition, participants raved about sessions, highlighting the impacts it would have on their lives.

Here are some testimonials from the participants:

"I learned to control what I'm eating. When I go shopping, I check the protein, sugar, and sodium in the ingredients list…My children don't eat any cereal now. I used to drink juice, but I don't anymore!"

"I learned about sugar and the importance of drinking enough water."

" I like the chair exercises I can do whenever I like at home. I learned how to pick healthy groceries by reading the labels at the back of the package…and how to prepare my plate…so I know how much protein, carbohydrates, vitamins...thank you for teaching us..."

Can changing our diet lower the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes? Absolutely! Many studies have shown that people who consume more fruits, grains, and vegetables have reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes. For example, in a study conducted over 20 years, over 2,000 men increased the number of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and vegetable oils in their diet (American Society for Nutrition). This lowered their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 60 percent compared to those with a slight decrease in plant foods (American Society for Nutrition).

The Road to Health class is vital for communities to learn the importance of healthy eating and an exercise/active lifestyle. The partnership between CHEER and Holy Cross Hospital is crucial in reaching and educating those participating in the class. CHEER believes that each one can teach one. Laying this groundwork with 20 participants may seem insignificant but causes a domino effect. It influences families and friends and can even create systematic changes on a community level. The road to health is not a race; instead, it's taking a step-by-step approach. Recognize that some days we may fall, but we can get back up and try again tomorrow.


Research reveals how diet influences diabetes risk. (June 8, 2019). ASN Staff.


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