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Health Team

Social media 'Dance Dare' inspired by fight against type 2 diabetes

Posted December 28, 2016

A new social media campaign to help fight type 2 diabetes is getting people to move their feet.

The Diabetes Dance Dare is meant to turn back the potentially deadly health trend by pairing a simple exercise with a fun challenge. Participants post video of themselves dancing for 23 seconds and challenge someone else to do the same.

The nationwide social media trend struck Dr. John Buse, the director of the diabetes center at the University of North Carolina. When he heard of it, he dared his friendly rivals at Duke University, too.

"At Duke, we don't take those sorts of things sitting down," said Duke Endocrinologist Dr. David D'Allesio in a YouTube video.

After all, Duke endocrinology has a lot of former cheerleaders and dance team members on staff.

"We want to challenge you to dance through life to prevent diabetes," Duke's Dr. Susan Spratt said in her 23-second-long video.

Dancing may or may not be your thing, and you may not even be diabetic, but Spratt says that's not the point.

"Our message is simply that exercise is good for you, whether you have diabetes or not," Spratt said.

Reducing the risk of diabetes isn't as big a dare as people may think.

"Losing 5 percent of your body weight, which sometimes is 10 or 15 pounds, can drastically reduce your risk," Spratt said.

Weight loss will come when it's combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, which could be just a brisk walk for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Buse says it's important to know your risk.

"If you're overweight and you have any other risk factor for diabetes, like you don't get very much exercise, you should be screened," Buse said. "If you're over the age of 45, even if you're normal weight, you should be screened."

Doctors suggests people regularly have their blood pressure checked and ask their doctor about getting an A1C test, which reveals your three-month average blood sugar level.

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