Famed pastor discusses fears in new book

Statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health reveal that the majority of Americans struggle with all sorts of fears, including that of public speaking and death.

Creflo Dollar, the famous founder and senior pastor at World Changers International Church in College Park, Georgia says that such fears are just as rampant among Christians as they are in the public at large.

“Millions of people live under the stronghold of fear,” said Dollar, whose church serves more than 30,000 members and whose fame matches that of other prolific ministers such as Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. “Their lives are stunted, limited and even controlled by it. I’ve experienced what can happen when Satan and his spirit of fear gain a foothold in our lives. But there is victory, and I’m eager to tell my story, and the story of how God can bring us victory over this debilitating condition.”

In his new book, “Overcoming Fear: Eliminating the Bondage of Fear,” Dollar’s goal is to teach his worshippers and others that fear is not a normal part of life and shouldn’t be tolerated as such.

Naturally, Dollar talks of how God can bring victory to those paralyzed by fear.

Dollar also uses his own experiences and stories, including his battle with cancer, to prove his theory that fears can ultimately be overcome.

“When we learn, or remind ourselves, about God’s covenant and His promises to us, we can begin to escape the bondage of fear in our lives,” he said. “It’s truly amazing what our lives can look like when we embrace these promises. We move from taking tepid steps to launching ourselves into all the possibilities that life and God have in store for us.”

Dollar says he hopes to reach those who have accepted fear as part of their lives with the new book. He says that he has had to overcome other issues, including his very public arrest in 2012 for allegedly hitting and choking his 15-year-old daughter during an argument. The charges of battery were eventually dropped after the pastor completed an anger management program.

“I should have never been arrested,” he said, following his release. “The truth is she was not choked, she was not punched. There were not any scratches on her neck. The reports were an exaggeration.”

Still, the seeds of Dollar’s latest book were planted long before that incident. He says a tragic death in his family resulted in fear being planted in his soul, which surfaced when he married his wife, Taffi.

Dollar said that fear wasn’t removed until he began trusting more in his creator. Recently, he announced that he had prostate cancer, but the evangelist no longer lives in fear.

In “Overcoming Fear,” Dollar also speaks of phobias, the fear of failure, the fear of abandonment and the fear of intimacy, all problems faced by many whom he said have not fully trusted God.

“Most people yield to fear because they don’t know what else to yield to,” Dollar said. “To believe with your heart is to believe against your body— against what you feel.”

“Overcoming Fear: Eliminating the Bondage of Fear,” retails for $14.99 and is available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other booksellers.

AACC begins collection for ‘Once Upon a Prom’ dresses

Anne Arundel Community College Student Engagement Office and Campus Activities Board (CAB) are collecting prom-style dresses and accessories for the spring prom season to help local girls who might not otherwise be able to afford to dress up.

CAB members say that the opportunity to meet high school students in the community is one of the benefits of Anne Arundel Community College’s Once Upon a Prom event.

How to keep your finances healthy throughout the year

If you are like many Americans, you made a commitment to yourself to kick off 2014 on the right financial foot. A record 54 percent of us resolved to save more, spend less and improve financial habits, according to Fidelity Investments®’ fifth annual New Year Financial Resolutions Study.* Now that the New Year is underway, it’s time to get serious about how to accomplish those goals.

The transition toward smarter saving and spending is no real surprise, continuing a trend started among consumers following the 2008-09 economic recession. Over the past year, Americans have been saving at an average rate of 4.9 percent, up from 2.9 percent in 2007. And while savings have historically been weighted more heavily in favor of long term goals (think retirement or college funding), this year’s study finds consumers planning increasingly for shorter term expenses as well (like vacations, major purchases and emergency funds).

Maintaining a better balance between short and long-term goals is an important indicator that Americans are once again able to plan and save more for discretionary purchase than they were a few years ago. To keep a balance in place for your own finances, it’s helpful to break goals down into small steps and monitor them regularly throughout the year.

Take advantage of the New Year momentum and get started planning and tracking your goals by following this yearly breakdown:

January – March: Where you are and where you’re headed

Creating a budget is the first step of the process. Determine your necessary and discretionary monthly expenses and compare them to your income, looking for ways to cut costs, pay down debt or save more. Make sure some of that savings is earmarked for retirement as well— at least enough to take advantage of any matching contributions your employer offers. In March, take a moment to gather together your tax paperwork and start the preparation process.

April – June: Directing your money

Take a closer look at where your money is going. Consider opening or funding an IRA if you haven’t done so already. Remember that contributions made up until April 15th may potentially reduce your taxable income for 2013 if certain conditions are met. If you have children, now might be the time to ramp up your college savings strategy. Consider tax-deferred 529 savings plans offered through your state or state agencies, which allow federal income tax-free withdrawals to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

July – September: Striking the right balance

Now that you’ve hit the halfway point, look back at the progress you’ve made and re-examine your asset allocation. The right account mix is an important component of a smart saving strategy.

If you have any credit card debt, consider paying it down as soon as possible. The interest you accumulate on it can quickly tilt the tables away from your goals.

October – December: Looking back and planning ahead

Review your finances for the year and create a year-end tax plan. Smart investing moves, such as education or energy efficiency credits and tax-loss harvesting strategies may help reduce next year’s tax burden. The more planning you are able to do at this stage of the game, the easier it will be to make and keep new financial resolutions in 2015.

While some of these steps may be easier than others, your commitment to create a proactive plan and track progress throughout the year will help you keep your resolutions in 2014, and beyond. In the process, you’ll create new, constructive financial habits that put you on the path toward long-term financial security.

Michael Pizzitola is vice president and branch manager of Fidelity’s Towson Investor Center located at 610 York Road across from Millennium Park.

Arena Players: Historical landmark still standing

— Baltimore City is a town filled with invaluable landmarks including the legendary statue of the late jazz singer Billie Holiday, which sits on Pennsylvania Avenue in West Baltimore.

Though the location of Holiday’s statue is known nationally, there is also another historic landmark nearby— The Arena Players Theatre located at 801 McCulloh Street. It is the oldest continuously operating African American theater in the United States.

Arena Players, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization was established in 1953 and has served as a venue for African American Theater.

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Founding Artistic Director Sam Wilson was instrumental in the success of the performances as well as the popularity of the theater. Wilson’s legacy and presence is still felt by those who had the opportunity to work with him.

Today, as black actors have more opportunities to perform at various venues, the theater is working hard to keep its doors open. Managing Director Rodney Orange who has worked at the theater for over 25 years said, ”It’s important for people to know that we are open, still exist and we have shows as well as programs running throughout the year. Arena Players has been a part of Baltimore for over 60 years and we not only desire for the surrounding communities to support the productions, but for persons who visit this city and want to see a great performance at a historic landmark.”

The theater runs several productions throughout the year as well as jazz and comedy shows, which take place every other month. It also offers programs for both children and adults who wish to perform. The Youth Theatre for children between 4-18 years old, offers performing arts classes such as drama, music and dance as well as theater production. Arena Players also offers its Studio 801 Program, a training and community outreach program for adults who want to perform.

Artistic Director Donald Owens who has been with the theatre since 1976 says that the theater’s stage has been graced by a multitude of dedicated actors throughout the years. “We have seen so many talented individuals come through here that are passionate about their craft and interestingly there have been a number of casts who travel from other cities to perform at this theatre,” he said. “Everyone on board is dedicated with the mindset that no matter what, it can be done. The key, however, is to give them something they can believe in.”

The next production to take place at the Arena Players is “Black Diamonds,” which will run February 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23, 2014. The production is a showcase of dramatic presentations about heroic and noteworthy African Americans who should never be forgotten— a look at everyone from sports figures to scientists and great thinkers.

To purchase tickets, to make a donation, or to volunteer at Arena Players, visit http://arenaplayersinc.com.

RAMBLING ROSE: Langston Hughes Literary Forum & Book Fair at Shiloh Baptist Church

Hello my dear friends. I hope everything is well with you. Honey Child! February will be a busy month. It is not only Black History Month, during which I believe everybody and their mother is doing something special, but it is also Valentine’s Day month too.

The month kicks off in style with the second Charm City Langston Hughes Literary Forum and Book Fair, which will be held on Saturday, February 1 at the New Shiloh Baptist Church Family Center, 2100 N. Monroe Street from 1-5 p.m. I know this will be a biggie! Why? It will be educational, entertaining, interesting, informative, fun, and family friendly. To put the icing on the cake, it is FREE!

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Dr. Walter Gill will be signing his book titled, “Teaching in Urban America: A Formula for Change”,

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Professor Larry Gibson will serve as moderator for a panel discussion with Dr. Monique Akassi; Dr. Dolan Hubbard; and A. Dwight Pettit at the 2nd Langston Hughes Literary Forum & Book Fair.

Lou Fields, the founder & CEO of Black Dollar Exchange and founder & former president of the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce and author of “Maryland Black Facts Book: 1634-2010” is the host of this prestigious event.

If you like some down-home blues, then you need to check out Nadine Ray & The Allstars Blues Band on Saturday, February 1st from 12 noon to 2 p.m. at the world famous Lexington Market, 400 W. Lexington Street.

Dr. Donna T. Hollie, historian & educator with the Baltimore Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society is hosting the 6th Genealogy Expo on Saturday, February 1 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Northwood Pratt Library, 4420 Loch Raven Blvd. Here you can learn about the many aspects of researching your family’s roots.

Black History Month will also include Morgan State University Women, who will present a “Town Hall Meeting” on Sunday, February 2 at 3 p.m. in the Morgan’s Little Theatre, Room 133 of the University Student Center. Guest speaker will be Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway who represents Maryland’s 43rd District. The Northwood Elementary School Choir will provide entertainment. For more information, go to website: www.morgan.edu. Or call Flossie Windley at 410-655-2025 or Alice Downs at 410-323.8824.

Well, my dear friends, I am out of space and out of time. Remember, if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at rosapryor@aol.com. Check out my website: www.rambling-rose.com. UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Harbor Point recruiting MBEs for billion dollar project

— Touted as the city’s largest downtown waterfront site yet, planners say Harbor Point will be a vibrant, highly integrated neighborhood with a focus on sustainability and innovation. The project will be located between Harbor East and historic Fells Point, and is being described as the leading development showcasing Baltimore’s urban renaissance.

Harbor Point will also serve as the new headquarters of Exelon’s Constellation business unit, and will feature a 24-hour trading floor as the energy hub and heart of the planned 350-foot tall, LEED Gold building. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental performance and human health.

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COurtesy Photo; Beatty Development

Michael Beatty, president and CEO of Beatty Development Group

Michael S. Beatty, president and founder of Beatty Development Group, is the developer of Harbor Point. Beatty said he is looking to provide as many Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) companies as possible with an opportunity to participate in the Exelon bidding process.

“We started early last year on the Exelon project,” said Beatty. “We set up an advisory group, and brought in leading contractors on the advisory panel to help get the word out. We also held information and pre-bid sessions to maximize bidding opportunities, and also had mentoring opportunities in an effort to help companies grow with a project like this.”

Beatty says that Wayne R. Frazier, Sr. and his wife Pat, along with Sharon Pinder have been instrumental in the process. Frazier serves as president of the Maryland-Washington Minority Companies Association, while Pinder serves as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development.

“We want to do all we can to get the word out, and to get as much MBE participation as possible,” said Beatty.

According to Beatty, his company set an internal goal that minority- and women-owned businesses should account for at least 38 percent of firms hired to construct the Exelon Corp. headquarters at Harbor Point.

“We are currently in the bidding process,” said Beatty. “We want to beat the goals that were set. We also want to build up businesses. That is very exciting for us. We want to help the local community to create local companies that can grow. The more they can grow, the more competitive they can be.”

He added, “We are excited to help build-up startups and the MBE community. We are working hard to have more discussions on how we can be more effective and making the awarding process more successful. We want to do better, and are willing to listen.”

Harbor Point will also house 415,000 square-feet of office space, 103 apartments, 41,000 square-feet of retail space, and 750 parking spaces. The neighborhood will feature 9.5 acres of waterfront parks and a promenade along the water’s edge.

“Harbor Point is a billion dollar project and is slated to open in 2016,” said Beatty. “It has the potential to create thousands and thousands of jobs here in Baltimore and millions of dollars in annual taxes. It will create an awesome public park space for all of Baltimore City to enjoy. It also expands the success for Downtown Baltimore.”

Beatty also developed Harbor East, which includes an estimated 5.5 million square-feet of offices, apartments, shops, hotels and restaurants, and is credited with helping to re-energize Baltimore City as a food and fashion destination.

Since 1995, Beatty has led the development of over six million square-feet of mixed-use real estate. Many of Beatty’s buildings have won awards, and he is recognized as one of the top business leaders in Baltimore. He serves on the Boards of Johns Hopkins – Bayview, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA), Maryland Institute College of Art, and is a founding member of Waterfront Partnership.

“We all live in a community and our community is one that should be reflected,” said Beatty. “We have a tremendous number of MBE companies, and we should be creating more and more of them to work on projects like this”

He added, “It’s another way of building up our city. It’s a win-win on every side. “The healthier the city is overall, the better it is for everyone.”

For more information about Harbor Point and MBE opportunities, visit: info@beattydevelopment.com or call (410) 332-1100.

‘100 Years of Magic’ comes to Baltimore Arena

Disney On Ice is celebrating 100 Years of Magic, and the commemorative celebration is coming to Baltimore. The show, which features 65 Disney characters, runs from February 5 through February 9, 2014 at the Baltimore Arena. To date, 100 Years of Magic has entertained more than 135 million guests worldwide.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Disney Princesses, Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio are among the 65 characters from 18 stories spanning multiple generations. Presented by Feld

Entertainment, the show features dazzling choreographed skating, breathtaking production numbers, stunning costumes and memorable Disney songs.

Marsean Oyler is among the skaters in the production, and he portrays a band member in a Mickey Mouse routine, and a soldier in a scene from Mulan.

“The show is amazing,” said Oyler. “We have a large cast of 46 skaters portraying characters from Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and other favorites. The show is a celebration of Disney’s work.” He added, “Getting to play a soldier in the Mulan number takes me back to when I was little. I love doing numbers to that music. It’s unreal. I have always loved Disney and getting to skate and being a part of the company has been really magical.”

The Knoxville, Tennessee native joined Disney in August 2013. “My first skating coach, Adam Blake joined Disney when he was 18 or 19, and told me how much fun he had when he was with Disney. He is a great mentor, and has really been instrumental. He put a lot of work into me. He is also skating on this tour, which is really great.”

According to Oyler, who is 20, he participated in a skating camp as a youngster and really enjoyed it.

“I have been skating ever since,” said Oyler. “Skating with Disney has been tremendous. There’s nothing like getting paid everyday to do what you love, and seeing the satisfaction and enjoyment on people’s faces who come to the shows. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.”

Oyler said the show has taken him to Chicago, New York, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, Canada and other places.

“Skating in front of my family and friends in Knoxville, Tennessee was miraculous,” he said. “I got an opportunity to show what I had worked so hard for. It was spectacular.”

The Baltimore engagement marks Oyler’s first visit to the city. “This is my first visit to Baltimore. I am really looking forward to it. People are going to love the show. There is a little something for everybody.”

Oyler offered this advice to aspiring skaters: “Work hard and train every day,” he said. “Also, emulate someone you would like to be like. Adam Blake was such a big role model for me, that I emulated him.”

Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 70 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Feld Motor Sports, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster at the Baltimore Arena box office. For more information call 800-745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.

It’s the community economy stupid!

In his commentary entitled, ‘If I Dated Black Girls”, Mr. George E. Curry, NNPA columnist, examines the comment a young white male made of his niece, Rachel: “If I dated Black girls– I tell Rachel this all the time– she would be on the top of my list.” Mr. Curry’s point, rightly so, is that the young man assumed that a black girl would want to date him, but his larger point is that in about 30 years the nation will have no “majority” race and that “all racial and ethnic groups will need to learn to step outside their comfort zone to interact as equals with those who don’t’ look like them.”

Mr. Curry quotes Dr. Martin Luther King’s much quoted 1963 “I Have a Dream” line: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will no longer be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Five years later, Dr. King was shot dead in 1968. The five year evolution of Dr. King’s thought in 1963 to 1968 is about as dynamic as the fledgling understanding of a 13-year-old compared to the just beginning to connect-the-dots-understanding of an 18-year-old.

Imagine Dr. King back today. Would he be concerned about a young white boy dating his daughter? Give speeches about it? Write newspaper columns about it? I do not think so. I think he would look around at the condition of his people much the way Jesus, in days of lore, looked at the ATMs in the temple. Dr. King would see that in the U.S. a type of social integration had evolved, laws had been passed and the historic barbaric behavior of the western world had been beaten back to a civilized cordiality. I think he would conclude, rightly so, that social integration without a community in control of its economic resources is economic slavery. Dr. King would say, ‘It’s the community economy, stupid! It’s about organizing the expertise, education and billions of dollars in the black community to fund and finance solutions to the problems crippling our people trapped in the basement of America’s social ills.’ I think that Dr. King would aggressively take on the sticky psychological vestiges of slavery in our current day behavior.

Dr. King would moan in anguish that black communities in urban centers had lost control of its small business infrastructure, its internal compass of dignity and self-respect and its sacred use of music to convey messages that uplift the human spirit to exalted action to bring good to the world. The wholesale surrender to the value systems and illogical morals of the former overt oppressive society would cause Dr. King to weep.

A young white boy dating a young black girl is not the issue. The issue is black “leadership” getting on the same page, or at least in the same chapter of the same book of solutions, to do something to improve the lot of black people trapped in bad health, warped values and weak skills to compete in the western world. The issue is can black “leadership” construct economic systems to deliver opportunity, training and modern day skills so that our youth can articulate their ideas in a complete sentence, master the western world and put the prison system out of business. I do not think that Dr. King would spend time on what one white boy “thinks” about his daughter. However, he might notice that local black political power has stumbled or given up on figuring out how to create policies to help improve the training and skills and elevate the values of black people to take their rightful place in the human family.

Dr. King would concede, ‘OK ya’ll, the moral strategy of non-violence did not get us all killed, but it did win social integration concessions. OK. Fine.’ But critically, Dr. King would focus on the internal economy of the black community and its untapped billions of dollars to do something for itself, not just be beautiful, well-dressed, handsome and cute. Dr. King would ask, ‘why are the doors of the church closed six days a week. Where are your church members who volunteer to run your math, science and language arts tutorial programs to sharpen your children’s minds to run the world?’ ‘Explain to me again,’ Dr. King would say, ‘exactly why your pastor is so rich in money but Miss Annie down the street is living in the dark because her lights cut off?’ I think he would say, ‘uh-rah, social integration has its place, but the negative contradictions inherent in social integration are detrimental to our collective community development.’

The absence of community control of businesses in the community would probably depress him. I think he would say, ‘hey, there’s something I wanted to let you know before I got shot: Social integration is not the sole goal of the modern day Civil Rights Movement or any movement upon whose shoulders the Movement stood to break the nullifying grip of American apartheid. It’s the community economy, stupid.’

Dr. King would be embarrassed unto us. He would weep at our lack of creative imagination to solve our own problems. He would say, possibly, ‘stop sound-biting my 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech. Check me out later. Jump ahead to the end of my life among you when I wrote unto you in my book, “Where Do We Go From Here,” for your guidance during these troubling times in the 21st century’:

“Everything Negroes need—and many of us need almost everything—will not like magic materialize from the use of the ballot. Yet as a lever of power, if it is given studious attention and employed with the creativity we have proved through our protest activities we posse, it will help us to achieve many far reaching changes during our lifetime.” Additionally, “In the future we must become intensive political activists. We must be guided in this direction because we need political strength more desperately that any other group in American society.

Most of us are too poor to have adequate economic power, and many of us are too rejected by the culture to be part of any tradition of power. Necessity will draw us toward the power inherent in the creative use of politics.”

Bill Curtis lives in Baltimore, MD. To contact him, email: billcurtis@billcurtisinfo.com.

Baltimore native stars in Fox series

Tiffany Boone firmly believes in all the good that Baltimore has to offer. The Charm City-born actress, who stars in the hit Fox television series, “The Following,” certainly has overcome some of the city’s toughest obstacles.

At just three-years-old, Boone’s father was murdered, forcing her mother to raise the reclusive young girl as a single parent.

“Baltimore is a violent place, there are a lot of issues,” she said. “I’ve lost a lot of people that I care about. There’s poverty, drug use. It’s a complicated place.”

However, Boone makes it clear that she is not throwing her favorite city under the proverbial bus, nor has she given up on it.

“There’s a great soul to the city and I was lucky enough to have the arts in a community where I could flourish because of the arts,” said Boone, a graduate of the Baltimore School of the Arts, which also boasts such alumni as Jada Pinkett-Smith and the late Tupac Shakur.

“I love my childhood. I have mixed feelings, but I’m always thinking about how I can give back to my city.”

Boone has already given back in a large way: she has licked adversity to become a successful Hollywood actress.

One of many to have made it out of Baltimore, she has been dubbed, “a star in the making,” and “a rising star,” by several Hollywood insiders.

The online Hollywood magazine, “Hello Beautiful,” said Boone is the next, “it girl.”

Writer Abiola Abrams said Boone has the smarts, looks and the acting chops to take Hollywood by storm.

Her acting career kicked-off with an appearance in the 2006 film, “Hamilton.”

A couple of other productions followed before Boone landed the role of “Crystal,” on the TNT drama, “Southland,” which starred Regina King and Michael Cudlitz. Boone then tackled one of her defining roles as “Savannah Snow” in, “Beautiful Creatures,” where she starred alongside two-time Academy Award nominee, Viola Davis.

“Savannah Snow is a member of the group of popular girls in school and is best friends with Emily Asher, Ethan’s [the main character] ex-girlfriend,” Boone said. “She is part of the campaign to make Lena’s life in Gatlin unbearable.”

While she doesn’t mind talking about her own roles, Boone expresses a sincere reverence for Davis, who has starred in such films as, “The Help,” and “Doubt.”

“To me, Viola Davis has this presence when she walks in a room you could feel her aura and she has this quiet strength that makes you feel so comfortable,” Boone said. “To watch her, she can just sit there and do nothing; she doesn’t have to say a word. That’s what I love about her. Lord knows I’m not there yet, but I really look up to her ability.”

Boone says that she is enjoying her latest role alongside Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Natalie Zea and others in, “The Following.” She plays the character of Mandy Lang in the series about a brilliant but psychotic serial killer who communicates with other serial killers and activates a cult of believers who follow his every command.

“This has been my favorite series so far,” Boone said. “What drew me to Mandy is the real innocence she has and that father and daughter relationship she has with Joe Carroll [Purefoy]. I was drawn to that need to have a father figure.”

Boone says that she hopes that her character wises up before something bad happens to her on the show.

“She does have a bit of darkness to her, trying to figure out who she is and right from wrong,” she said. “At the same time, she’s impressionable and makes you want to sit down and ask her why is she doing certain things. Why is she making bad decisions?”

“The Following” airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on Fox.

Research shows link between diabetes and air pollution

Approximately 26 million Americans suffer from diabetes with another 79 million who have pre-diabetes. This group has been given a compelling reason to join the environmental movement and fight for clean air legislation. They have also been given a compelling reason to replace their old cars that pollute the air and purchase automobiles with higher gas mileage cars that emit lower levels of carbon monoxide.

In addition to the consumption of diets high in fat and sugar, an Ohio State University Medical Center research study funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that the air you breathe may also be a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes caused by insulin resistance.

Cardiovascular and lung researchers at The Ohio State University Medical Center were the first to report a direct link between air pollution and diabetes. If the ongoing research continues to confirm this association, scientists fear human health in both industrialized and developing countries could be impacted.

“We now have even more compelling evidence of the strong relationship between air pollution and obesity and type II diabetes,” said Dr. Sanjay Rajagopalan, section director of vascular medicine at Ohio State’s medical center and principal investigator of the study.

Researchers found that exposure to air pollution, over a period of 24 weeks, exaggerates insulin resistance and fat inflammation. “The prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic proportions with 34 percent of adults in the U.S., ages 20 and over, meeting the criteria for obesity,” said Rajagopalan. “Obesity and diabetes are very prevalent in urban areas and there have been no studies evaluating the impact of poor air quality on these related conditions until now.”

Type II diabetes, a consequence of obesity, has soared worldwide with a projected 221 million people expected to suffer from this disease in 2010, a 46 percent increase compared to 1995.

In the Ohio State research, scientists fed male mice a diet high in fat over a 10-week period to induce obesity and then exposed them to either filtered air or air with particulate matter for six hours a day, five days a week, over a 24-week period. Researchers monitored measures of obesity, fat content, vascular responses and diabetic state.

The air pollution level inside the chamber containing particulate matter was comparable to levels a commuter may be exposed to in urban including many metropolitan areas in the U.S.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that there are four most common pollutants emitted into the air. Those are (1) particulate matter, (2) ozone, (3) nitrogen dioxide and (4) sulfur dioxide. Air pollution is commonly the result of industrial emissions, power plants and automobile exhaust.

“This study provides additional guidance for the EPA to review air pollution standards,” says Rajagopalan. “Our study also confirmed a need for a broader based approach, from the entire world, to influence policy development.”

Other research reveals that long-term exposure to traffic related pollution from cars and trucks is associated with an increase of type 2 diabetes. For example, one research study of African American women from Los Angeles found that those who had higher exposure to traffic-related air pollution were more likely to develop diabetes as well as hypertension.

Diabetes Awareness Project is launching a nation-wide campaign to encourage people with diabetes and those at risk of this disease often called “The Silent Killer” to purchase fuel efficient cars producing high gas mileage and incorporates green technology that reduces the carbon footprint. Car dealers and manufacturer that sell and produce cars meeting these standards will be presented The Green Team Award.

Maurice Hunt survived a near-death experience caused by Diabetic ketoacidosis (extremely high blood sugar levels) that exceeded 1600. He is the founder of Diabetes Awareness Project and can be reached at: mhunt@diabetesawarenessproject.org.