Have you heard that Lance Armstrong is now using his celebrity to raise awareness for diabetes? While Lance is known best for his Tour de France wins and LiveStrong cancer survivor campaign, it seems that he is turning his efforts toward a new cause: diabetes.
Unlike with LiveStrong, which was inspired by his own battle with testicular cancer, Lance chose to support diabetes without having a personal connection to the cause. He was quoted in this article saying, “Much like with cancer survivors or those who have HIV, people with diabetes have been dealt this hand, a health challenge. Ultimately, we wanted to be there to help them achieve a healthy quality of life, help them live to their fullest."
So, in a new section of his LiveStrong “My Plate”, a “MyPlateD” has been launched to focus on those with type 2 diabetes. Like the original MyPlate, MyPlateD focuses on eating healthy, counting calories, watching your weight, managing your fitness, and planning meals an diets.
The MyPlateD offers:
- Personal glucose tracking •
- Insulin usage tracking •
- Personalized charts •
- Nutritionist Approved diabetic recipes •
- Glucose level monitoring •
- Member support
- Caloric, fat, protein, and carb tracking for over 626k food items
You can access all of these “features” (including an iPhone app) for free for 45 days, after which you will have to upgrade to a “Gold” Account for $29.95/six months or $45/year.
Here is where it begins to get strange to me. Why charge for what basically (looks like) an online spreadsheet for tracking how much you eat and exercise? Where exactly does the money go? What service exactly are you paying for, as a consumer? I can’t help but wonder why Lance has decided to rebrand the already established (and popular? I’m not sure) MyPlate for diabetes when they seem like the same thing? And, though I support anyone who uses their celebrity to spread awareness about health causes, there seems something slightly odd about this business venture.
Why does Lance, who has already basically become the “face” of cancer and cancer survival, want to branch out into diabetes? On one hand, this could be a really altruistic and positive way to lend a hand to a less publicized condition. Because, why not use your fame and business-savvy to aid another condition in receiving necessary attention? On the other hand, what a lucrative idea! The article claims that he’s interested in diabetes because “he just likes the idea of making a difference in one of the USA's fastest-growing health problems." The words "fastest-growing" makes me think of his potential to make money off the masses more than his potential to help the condition of Americans' health. But I could be reading into it. Because, if MyPlateD (which may not even improve the quality of life for diabetics) grows, and as more and more people get type 2 diabetes, who will be there to profit but Lance Armstrong, yellow-banded business extraordinaire, et al?
I suppose one could argue that Lance sees a connection between his love of healthy-living and diabetes prevention/management. It’s no secret that, for a business to survive, it must continually grow. I don’t mind the idea of that at all, as long as we, the consumers, are treated fairly and, in turn, can benefit. I just hope Lance focuses on the other side of the disease as well. Because reinforcing the diet industry isn’t something we, as consumers, really need right now.
But - What do you think? Are you happy diabetes may get a piece of Lance’s golden pie? What would you like the general public to know about diabetes (via Lance or other publicity)? Do you mind that he has no personal connection to diabetes?