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Team Liberty launches Kiss-A-Pig campaign
Jason Rogers
Jason Rogers

Messages from the American Diabetes Association

• Since 1987 the death rate due to diabetes has increased 45 percent, while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke and cancer have declined
• Keeping blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol in control can make a difference in reducing your risk for heart attack or stroke
• Annual dilated eye exams and routine foot exams and blood pressure checks can prevent blindness, amputations, heart disease, kidney disease and strokes
Diabetes complications include
• Heart disease and stroke.
• Heart disease and stroke account for 65 percent of deaths in people with diabetes.
• The risk for stroke and heart disease is 2-4 times higher among people with diabetes.
• Kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44 percent of new cases.
• In 2002, 45,000 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage renal
• Amputations. More than 60 percent on non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes. In 2004, 71,000 lower limb amputations were performed on people with diabetes.
• Blindness. Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000-24,000 new cases of blindness each year making diabetes the leading cause of new blindness in adults 20-74 years of age.
Preventing or delaying diabetes complications - remember the ABCs:
• A is for A1C, short for hemoglobin A1C, which measures average blood glucose (sugar) during the past three months. Check it twice a year.
• B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work too hard and can cause damage to the kidney and eyes. Check it every doctor's visit.
• C is for cholesterol. Bad cholesterol, LDL, builds up and clogs arteries, leading to heart attacks and stroke. Check it once a year. 

November is American Diabetes Month and the American Diabetes Association and the 2009 Liberty Kiss-A-Pig campaign team want to get the word out about early screening and detection.
The theme for the 17th annual 2009 Kiss-A-Pig campaign is "The OlymPIGs," and Jason Rogers of the Liberty County Board of Education will represent Liberty. Rogers and his managers, Danny Creasy of The Heritage Bank and last year's Kiss-A-Pig winner and Liberty Elementary Principal Chris Anderson, hope to bring the gold medal back to Liberty County by getting a jump start on fundraising. Last year, team Liberty raised $160,000 to benefit the ADA, securing a team Liberty victory for the first time in 12 years.
The American Diabetes Association uses American Diabetes Month to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of proper diabetes control. This year, the month focuses on the deadly complications of diabetes.
Nationwide, 23.6 million people have diabetes and more than 5.7 million of these people don't know they have it. If current trends continue, one out of three Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
Rogers and his Liberty County team are determined to improve these statistics. Funds raised through the Kiss-a-Pig effort fund the work of American Diabetes Association, the nation's leading organization dedicated to preventing and curing the disease.  
According to Dr. Chris Draffin, Liberty County School nutrition director, the school system plans to use the Kiss-a-Pig Campaign to reinforce the schools' wellness policy.
"The Liberty County Public Schools were featured in an American Academy for Pediatrics article about our focus on access to healthful foods and opportunities for physical activity for our children. One such example is cutting back on soft drinks in vending machines and doing away with fundraising that features foods with no nutritious value. At the elementary level, only water and 100 percent juice is allowed in vending machines," Draffin said.
"Obesity rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents over the last two decades," she continued. "It is the policy of this system to support healthy eating and exercise to prevent type 2 diabetes and its attendant complications like cardiovascular disease. By joining forces with American Diabetes Association during Kiss-a-Pig, we can use this fun vehicle for sending a serious message.  We are very serious in Liberty County about reversing the disturbing trends we are seeing."
As part of American Diabetes Month, free blood glucose and other health screenings will be offered at the Liberty Regional Medical Center's 4th annual health fair from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, at the medical center, 462 E.G. Miles Parkway in Hinesville. The ADA will have a booth with free literature for the public. The first Kiss-A-Pig fundraiser, Striking for a Cure II Bowling Tournament, will be from noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, at Marne Lane. Lane sponsors are $115 and a four-person team is $35 per person. Call Kim Sachau at 617-4212 or e-mail her at for more information.
In addition to reinforcing positive health messages, the Liberty Team also will be competing snout-to-snout with the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools, who were the reigning champions of Kiss-a-Pig until team Liberty dethroned them last year. 
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