Teen Loses Three Relatives To Diabetes, Starts ‘Healthy Beat’ Website To Help Others

She's still in high school, but she's changing lives around the world.

Credit: Arvnid Yaday/Hindustan Times

Avni Madhani, a California girl with an Indian ethnicity, lost two family members almost back-to-back from Type 2 diabetes when she decided in 2015 that she wanted to prevent this from happening to others. In 2016, when she was still establishing her website called The Healthy Beat to help others, her grandmother died from the disease as well, just one month after being diagnosed.

The rate at which her family members died is certainly alarming, but they aren’t the only South Asians living in the U.S. to die from this fatal disease. According to the New York University School of Medicine, South Asian immigrants are seven times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than the U.S. population as a whole.

Madhani recognized that this was a problem that could be prevented with education and access to resources, so she set about creating a website that would help anyone develop a health regimen that could prevent the development of the disease. She explained to NBC News,

“It’s a largely preventable disease that’s caused by general unawareness. You can’t blame people for not knowing what they’re eating—society makes it that way. [The website] is an attempt to bridge that gap of knowledge and let them know what they’re eating.”

Credit: Avni Madhani

The site is loaded with resources and tools that can help people at risk of developing diabetes or those already diagnosed, such as a calorie counter, a healthy weight guide, and a Build Your Meal section. The calorie counter includes South Asian foods, which is helpful to the demographic she is targeting, and is also written in Hindi, which Madhani translated herself, so that non-English speakers in both India and the U.S. can use the website.

The 16-year-old, who intends to study medicine after she graduates high school next year, has said that her research has vastly changed her life. She says that she’s very careful about what she eats at home and has incorporated vegetables into her daily diet in order to reduce the likelihood of her developing diabetes. She explained that the biggest problem is people’s reliance on carbohydrates and fats and their lack of vegetable intake. She told Hindustan Times,

“Carbs break into sugar which is why your blood sugar level goes up. I have seen people eat the number of calories they should eat during the whole day in one meal.”

Though she spent tons of time researching in order to develop the website, her site makes it much easier to learn valuable tips about your health quickly and apply it to your daily life. Madhani prides herself on being able to simplify the process of getting healthy to make the prospect much less daunting. She told NBC News,

“It takes just six hours to understand what you’re eating, and you’ll be healthy for the next 60 years.”

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