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Amanda's Health Musings: On Diabetes

Lance Armstrong--the new face of diabetes?

Amanda's Health Musings: On Diabetes

Hi I'm Amanda.

Things I like (and will likely include in this blog) include:

  • diabetes
  • health research
  • social media
  • weird things
  • writing and poetry
  • fun facts & figures

...so let's talk about things! Laughing

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 Blog Entries
Overconsumption Leads to Diabetes & Heart Disease - Mar 10
Have you heard the recent news that soft drinks are being linked to diabetes and heart disease? Within the last few days, articles have come out suggesting that drinking ...
Lance Armstrong--the new face of diabetes? - Dec 28
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 ...
Tweeting 'Bout Healthy Holiday Eating &Diabetes! - Dec 23
Yesterday something interesting happened within the online diabetes community. USA Today Health collaborated with the Mayo Clinic to host a live Twitter chat about diabetes. ...
Posted: Dec 28, 2009 16:33
  • 1 Comment.
  • Lance Armstrong--the new face of diabetes?

    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?

    Comments (1):
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  • By: JoeMeloni: Dec, 29, 2009 13:18 PM

    Armstrong's endorsement is the latest in the line of athletes past their prime or out of their sport who endorse items simply because their face can move product. Jim Palmer, former Baltimore Orioles ace, endorsed the MoneyStore and Emmitt Smith, former Dallas Cowboys running back, is now pushing Just For Men.

    Obviously, neither of these are as pressing as Armstrong's endorsement of MyPlateD, but attaching the Livestrong brand will bring further exposure to the product. It's an interesting quandary, though. Like you said, Diabetes will benefit from Armstrong's presence, but Lance will likely get some cash out of this. I guess I don't mind it, really. If the exposure of this product is such that people use it and increase their quality of life, then I guess Lance deserves a cut.

    To answer the question as to why Lance is interested, his cycling career is essentially over and the man's gotta eat right?

    This probably wasn't his idea. It likely came from an agent who goes through proposal after proposal every week and decides what to bring to Lance. MyPlate had a new product idea and needed a spokesman - Armstrong just makes sense. There are no prominent active athletes who suffer from Diabetes, so Armstorng just makes sense as the de facto "athlete who talks about medical stuff." Plenty of successful professional athletes were diabetic - Ty Cobb and Jackie Robinson come to mind - but none are active or retired recently enough to still be relevant. The only one close is Billie Jean King who is just a little too old to appeal to the youngest Diabetes sufferers. Also, Armstrong makes sense because his sport isn't like other sports. He's not 6-foot-5, nor does he weigh 260 pounds. While he's in remarkable shape, he's more easy to relate to than some 7-foot basketball player.

    So it does seem, to me at least, that Armstrong is in this for the money. After all, like you said, he has no personal connection to diabetes, and he probably wouldn't be doing this if he were still a relevant cycler. Still, that doesn't mean he isn't health-conscious and genuinely interested in doing his part to boost awareness.

    app (1) iphone (1) myplate (1) Lance Armstrong (1) Diabetes (1)

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