Billie Jean King

Date of birth:
November 22, 1943

Long Beach, California

Diabetes Type:
Type 2

Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slam titles during her tennis career. She also finished six of the ten years between 1966 and 1975 as the world number one.

King is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

She captained the United States’ Federation Cup team three times and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.

Managing type 2 diabetes

King was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007, long after her professional tennis career ended.

As diabetes was part of her family history, King was reportedly not shocked by her diagnosis. She told about an eating disorder she suffered which led to her binge eating. “For about 10 years, I was being very cruel to my poor little pancreas,” King said.

King tried to reduce her carbohydrate consumption following her diagnosis as part of her efforts to lose weight.  She also exercises frequently and takes metformin to manage her type 2.

Diabetes awareness

King has been active in raising diabetes awareness. She was the spokesman for a campaign called Face of Change, a travelling photo exhibit that recognised the achievements of those with diabetes.

In 1998, she also established the Novo Nordisk Donnelly awards in which children with diabetes are encouraged to exercise and lead an active life.

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