This month is host to several annual health awareness campaigns. Movember participants are growing beards to raise money for men’s health, while others are doing what they can to bring attention to diabetes research and treatments.
Diabetes prevalence is on the rise and has reached epidemic levels in China. According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the percentage of Chinese with diabetes has surpassed that of the U.S. In China, 11.6 percent of adults – 114 million people – have diabetes. Most alarming, only 30 percent of Chinese with diabetes are aware they have the disease.
Being a “Spectrumite” goes beyond the work we do for our clients. Whether it’s bettering the community through service or participating in the Spectrum Fitness Challenge, I’ve learned major changes start with the small choices we make every day.
This past Sunday started with my decision to obey the alarm clock at 4:45 a.m. and put on a cycling jersey for the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. By 6:45 a.m. team Spectrum Spokes Persons embarked on an 81-mile bike ride along the Northern Virginia countryside.
And with charity event season in full swing, here are some tips for making your own fitness challenge a little more enjoyable for everyone involved:
If your office is anything like ours, celebrity chef Paula Deen’s diabetes announcement has become quite the topic of conversation over the past week. As I read the coverage online and caught a few TV interviews, I was struck by the backlash against the timing of Deen’s decision to announce her type 2 diabetes. Questions swirled about why she waited three years to talk about her diabetes and criticism came from fellow chef personalities like Anthony Bourdain, among others. While fans and critics alike will continue to disagree, Deen’s announcement helped to push the important but sometimes unsexy issue of lifestyle changes and type 2 diabetes into the media spotlight. For patient groups, advocates, diabetes educators and health care professionals, sponsorship deals like Deens’ help to drive awareness about living with diabetes and help to infuse some creativity into everyday meal planning – an important part of managing the disease.
…culture eats strategy for lunch every day. Now isn’t that the truth? Especially in PR where we put our logical strategic plans up to bat with popular culture daily and hope/wish our audiences hear and pay attention to our message.
Last week I had the pleasure and honor to attend the Health Affairs journal release event at the Capitol Hill Hyatt. This month’s journal was completely based around the #Diabetes pandemic in the United States and internationally with noted scholars such as Dr. Richard Kahn and K.M. Venkat Narayan.
My top take-a-ways:
Top three concepts:
Top three quotes (who says researchers aren’t pithy?):
The keynote speaker, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, shared her take on health care in the U.S. and said we need to put the fun back into our health care. Her speech set the bar high for the remainder of the day as panelists began their presentations.
One panel in particular raised many questions and discussion about ‘The Potential for Lifestyle Changes and Weight Loss.’ The three panelists, Kenneth Thorpe, Richard Kahn and Mohammed K. Ali (not to be confused with the former boxer, Muhammad Ali) first presented their respective papers and then fielded questions from a very engaged audience. With the short presentations by Kenneth Thorpe and Mohammed Ali both individuals covered the results from the National Diabetes Prevention Program with positive language. Dr. Kahn threw some proverbial ‘cold water in the hot tub’ (his words) by reminding the audience to take the results with a grain of salt.
Yesterday Maggie Fox (@maggiemfox) wrote a great piece regarding an American Heart Association study about the current trend in obesity and the health of Americans. The piece was based on a 10 year study that looked at the trending health and weight issues we face. The study lists a series of issues America will face due to this epidemic. I use the term epidemic because things like increases in high blood pressure, diabetes and of course heart diseases are forcing us into a national crisis.
When everyone hears about health issues the cost of health care becomes top of mind. When I do, and I’m sure as an Air Force brat, when Maggie does as well, it also brings national security and national resources to mind. Over a quarter of all young adults between the age of 17 and 24 are physically unfit to serve. I know a percentage of those people have physical reasons why they can’t serve but the number is still staggering. As a former United States sailor it absolutely shakes me to the core to think of what will happen if this trend in Americans’ health continues. Will we not be able to protect our borders, man our ships or send humanitarian aid to countries when they have natural disasters like typhoons or earthquakes?
On Monday, July 12, 2010 I attended the Pre-Diabetes Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill held in cooperation with Congressional Diabetes Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Mike Castle and co-sponsored by Results for Life, the American Diabetes Association, Novo Nordisk, and The Endocrine Society. I was astonished to learn that there are 57 million Americans living in danger of developing type II diabetes. For 40 percent of these individuals, full blown type II diabetes is expected to be a reality in as few as 3-8 years. And diabetes is not their only concern. Diabetes translates to a 50 percent increased risk of heart disease or stroke and complications from hypertension, kidney disease, and neurological problems.
I spent this past Father’s Day morning riding 20 miles with my son Bobby on our bikes in the National Capital Tour de Cure in Reston, Virginia. No breakfast in bed for me!
Over the past eight years, Spectrum has sponsored our “Spokes Persons” team in the American Diabetes Association‘s annual ride to stop diabetes. Tour de Cure rides take place throughout the U.S. each year.
Diabetes is not a “sexy” or trendy disease. It’s not as socially “hip” as breast cancer, in the sense that hundreds of thousands of people walk or run or ride to raise hundreds of millions of dollars that flow to diabetes research and survivor organizations, as happens with breast cancer. What’s breast cancer got that diabetes doesn’t?
For starters, breast cancer deeply scares people, affects mostly women, tugs at our emotions, and generally gets our attention in a big way when we hear about a friend or family member with a diagnosis. And breast cancer reigns supreme among awareness, advocacy and funding.
Too far down the respect scale, too many of the people afflicted with or at risk of diabetes don’t understand the severity of the illness. There’s a lack of fear due to a lack of education, real appreciation for the devastation diabetes can cause. We are nationally unobsessed with diabetes, unfortunately. (more…)
A few weeks ago, I was listening to a radio interview with Sheena Iyengar who was discussing the research she did for her new book The Art of Choosing. Iyengar is a professor at Columbia University School of Business and a well-known expert on the study of choice – how we make choices and how they affect our lives. It is a subject close to the heart of anyone working in the field of chronic disease treatment and prevention with its focus on getting people to make the choices-particularly about diet and exercise– necessary to stay healthy. Study after study has confirmed that educating individuals about risks and how to avoid them isn’t enough to trigger behavior changes. So what else should we be doing?
Over the past few years we’ve been listening to a national debate about how to address America’s obesity epidemic, which is costing us $147 billion each year and is a major contributor to diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. It has also become an epidemic among our children, with one in six classified as obese.
Last month when the First Lady launched her Let’s Move campaign aimed at reducing childhood obesity, questions about choice were very much a part of the conversation. Who and what are responsible for creating this problem? Americans are ambivalent about the question, with many believing it is a matter of individual choice. But public health officials see it a different way. They believe that we need to change our “obesogenic” environment, which promotes increased food intake, unhealthful foods and physical inactivity. Tom Frieden, who heads the Centers for Disease Control, is the lead author on a compelling article in Health Affairs about how to tackle the problem. And there is no ambivalence in his prescription for change:
“Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort. It will be done successfully as a society only with societal effort…We got to this stage of the epidemic because of a change in our environment. And only a change in our environment again will allow us to get back to a healthier place…” (more…)