Basketball Legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe Challenges Restaurants to Offer Healthy Options During National Diabetes Awareness Month
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Oct. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Basketball legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe is teaming up with Merck during National Diabetes Awareness Month on the Diabetes Restaurant Month program, to challenge restaurants in New York City to create diabetes-friendly menu items which are also heart healthy. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1998, Earl has learned how to maintain a diabetes-friendly lifestyle and reduce his risk of serious complications, like heart disease, through a healthy diet and regular exercise, and he aims to inspire others to do the same by making a few small changes every day, including making smart choices while dining out.
More than one-third of Americans’ daily calorie intake comes from food eaten outside the home, including sit-down restaurants and fast-food establishments, so the nearly 26 million people in the U.S. who have type 2 diabetes are faced with the challenge of identifying healthy meal options when dining out. People with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease and stroke than people who do not have diabetes, so it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes Restaurant Month is a program that strives to educate people with diabetes about the importance of making more informed dietary choices when eating out.
“Since teaming up with Merck on the Diabetes Restaurant Month program, I’ve focused on my own eating habits, which has helped to lower my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol,” said Earl. “This is important because my doctor told me that people like me with type 2 diabetes have twice the risk of developing heart disease than people who do not have diabetes.”
Diners are encouraged to visit restaurants in New York City to try featured diabetes-friendly dishes during Diabetes Restaurant Month in November.
Restaurants in 18 cities have participated in Diabetes Restaurant Month to date and have created delicious diabetes-friendly dishes with the help of a registered dietician and an endocrinologist. A healthy diet is a key component of a diabetes-friendly lifestyle, and the Diabetes Restaurant Month program is helping people learn how to make smart choices when eating out. Visit MerckDiabetes.com for tips on physical activity and healthy eating, Earl’s favorite diabetes-friendly recipes, and information about the basics of diabetes management, including blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol control.
About Earl “The Pearl” Monroe
A native of South Philadelphia, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe began his professional basketball career in 1967 and went on to dazzle fans and players alike with his on-court moves for 13 years, including a league championship in 1973. According to many, his flair and showmanship on the court will forever be remembered for infusing basketball with art and finesse, and his distinctive style changed the way professional basketball was played. Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1998, Earl is teaming up with Merck on the Diabetes Restaurant Month program and challenging local restaurants to transform popular menu items into delicious diabetes-friendly dishes to help show people with diabetes that it is possible to enjoy dining out and stay healthy.
About Diabetes Restaurant Month from Merck
Earl “The Pearl” Monroe has teamed up with Merck for Diabetes Restaurant Month and is challenging local restaurants to feature diabetes-friendly dishes, which are also heart healthy, on their menus during their city’s Diabetes Restaurant Month.
Earl will visit each city participating in Diabetes Restaurant Month to sample diabetes-friendly dishes with a lucky local fan during an educational discussion about diabetes. To date, restaurants in more than 18 cities have participated in Diabetes Restaurant Month, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach.
By challenging local restaurants to feature diabetes-friendly dishes, the Diabetes Restaurant Month program aims to show people with diabetes that they can still enjoy eating delicious meals out with friends and family without sacrificing their health. By taking small steps towards healthier decisions every day, it is possible to maintain a diabetes-friendly lifestyle.
The program website, MerckDiabetes.com, includes a list of participating restaurants across the country, tips for dining out and getting active, Earl’s favorite diabetes-friendly recipes, and information about the basics of diabetes management, including blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol control. The site also provides links to Merck’s educational social media platform The Diabetes Dish on Facebook and YouTube (facebook.com/TheDiabetesDish and youtube.com/TheDiabetesDish), for videos, recipes, downloadable tools and updates about upcoming events.
Merck is committed to improving patient education through programs like Diabetes Restaurant Month. As a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well, Merck provides its medicines and adult vaccines for free to people who do not have prescription drug or health insurance coverage and qualify for a Merck Helps program. Patients in need of information should visit MerckHelps.com or call (800) PAP-5400.
About Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, the hormone needed to convert sugar into energy, causing an elevated amount of sugar in the blood. The disease is diagnosed by consistently elevated levels of blood sugar, or glucose. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is one of the fastest growing healthcare problems in the country. Nearly 26 million people in the United States (8.3 percent of the population) have diabetes, and 90 to 95 percent of these cases are type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that one in three Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes sometime during their lifetime.
Diabetes can lead to serious complications, like heart disease. In fact, people with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease and stroke than people who do not have diabetes, and approximately two out of three people with diabetes die of complications, such as heart attack or stroke. People with type 2 diabetes can lower their risk for heart disease and stroke by managing their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
People with diabetes should talk to their doctor about specific blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol goals. For most people with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends lowering A1C to below or around 7 percent, keeping blood pressure below 130/80, and lowering LDL cholesterol to a target goal of less than 100 mg/dl.
Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.