News and insights brought to you by the International Diabetes Federation

Touch of Sugar film poster

A Touch of Sugar, a documentary showing how diabetes can destroy lives, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, April 25. The film is a part of Merck’s program America’s Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals. Academy Award winning actor, Viola Davis, narrated the film. She will also serve as spokesperson.

“I’m one of the 84 million American adults living with prediabetes and I’m sharing my story for the first time in an effort to inspire others to take action against the type 2 diabetes epidemic,” said Viola Davis. “I’ve seen how diabetes has single-handedly ravaged families,” she continued. “I prefer living with the disease to dying with the disease.”

More than 30 million American adults have diabetes – that’s about 1 in 10 people – and 90 to 95 percent of them have type 2 diabetes.

The film looks at diabetes from the perspective of the people who live with type 2 diabetes in black and Hispanic communities. Participants talk about how they heard about diabetes from family members who simply called their condition, “the sugar.” In this way, the film explores the many social and cultural factors that can affect disease management, including a misunderstanding of the severity of diabetes. A major goal for the film is to help people take diabetes more seriously. Critical issues affecting patients and families in the US are discussed: barriers to treatment, stigma, lack of access to care and nutritious foods, and the need for culturally relevant management tools.

One of the film’s subjects is Tracey Brown, CEO of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). “ADA is honoured to participate in this important documentary, which demonstrates the resiliency of the human spirit and contests the national perception of life with type 2 diabetes. As someone living with the disease, I stand proudly with our community and encourage everyone to share what it’s like to live with type 2 diabetes, so we can awaken the world to the everyday realities of this disease. Everybody’s voice counts and matters,” Mrs. Brown said in the Press Release.

People can learn more about A Touch of Sugar and how to make a difference in their communities by visiting On the website, they can watch the trailer, start the conversation by downloading a discussion guide and find educational resources to help improve diabetes management.

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