Ruben Studdard is a big man with a big voice. But he potentially has a big problem – his weight and his health.
Ruben is obese. He’ll be the first to tell you so. This fall he’ll tell the world when he becomes a contestant on The Biggest Loser.
The singer with the silky smooth voice captured the American Idol title in 2003. In 2013, he hopes to be a winner at losing.
Ruben admits his weigh ballooned by closed to 100 pounds after he won the season 2 singing competition. But he’s quick to note that he then lost more than 80 pounds by switching to a vegan diet and making exercise a priority.
A decade later, he’s regained a significant amount of weight and is now looking to regain control, slim down thwart any weight-related illness. Ruben’s family has a history of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart-related issues.
“I don’t want to be worried at 40, and if I don’t fix things now, I will be,” said Ruben, 35.
Ruben is wise to change his tune about his weight. Extra pounds equate to an added risk of type 2 diabetes – an affliction more prevalent among African-American population.
"I never want to try to be a spokesperson for health and wellness because I most definitely am not the most in shape person in the world," Ruben told the Huffington Post last year.
"But I do know that it's important that we all have our regular checkups with our doctors and try to have some type of physical activity so that we can have a decent level of health, so that we can ward off a lot of the things that happen -- especially in the African-American community."
Research shows that diabetes doesn’t affect all communities equally, and in fact about 11% of the African American community has diabetes. There’s more scary news: up to 40% are undiagnosed. In this case, it’s what you don’t know can really hurt you.
Studies show that type 2 diabetes has a strong genetic component but that lifestyle is critical in whether or not you develop the disease. Obesity tends to run in families – and families tend to have similar eating and exercise habits. Freeing yourself from a lifetime of unhealthy habits takes determination and support.
Take this quick risk assessment and learn more from the American Diabetes Association. Maybe it’s time for you to change your tune, too?
NOTE: Studdard will be the first celebrity contestant on The Biggest Loser; season 15 of the reality series that premieres TONIGHT at 8PM EST on NBC.
Susan Burke March is Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator, who as eDiet's Chief Nutritionist promotes the dietary health and well being of consumers worldwide.