Happy Diabetes Month

Given the Hallmark sponsored world we live in, you might be aware that November is American Diabetes Month, so if you were going to buy me something, you're fresh out of shopping days.

All of this culminates on World Diabetes Day on November 14.

As you might expect, there are a couple things you could do, if you're so inclined, to celebrate the festivities.

I've listed a couple of these things below, with my own opinions as to how I feel about them, given my lifestyle as a Type 1 diabetic and my vocation as a marketing professional:

1) The Big Blue Test. The concept here is simple. Do a BG test, exercise for 20 minutes, and do another one. Upload your results.

I'm a big fan of this one because it's primarily going to be done by diabetics (more on that in the next paragraph) and it's a concrete way to show the benefits of exercise. It's not foolproof - someone who doesn't understand how anaerobic exercise works might lift weights for 20 minutes and wonder why their BG shot up - but if it makes them curious to learn more about exercise and BG, I think that's awesome. Not entirely certain if I'll participate, since I tend to have my own big blue test 5-7 days a week when I run, but I might, and I think this program is the best at showing something measurable among those most likely to pay attention.

2) Be T1D for a Day. This one is from the JDRF and it's designed as a way for non-diabetics to understand what we go through. Basically, you get nagged by your cell phone for a day, telling you to test, to exercise, to test, to eat, to test, to check your feet for sores, to test, etc.

I'm not a big fan of this one. Aside from the fact that it's a game, which can be ignored (I'd love to see the data on how many people text STOP to end it early!), in general, I tend to be less impressed with campaigns that seek to create awareness among those who have none. I think those campaigns are rather short-sighted and not likely to have lasting effects. Those who are affected by diabetes - either with it or among loved ones - are already "sold" and those who aren't will likely end up focusing on those things that DO affect them and their loved ones on a daily basis.

3) Build a Picture of Diabetes. Here, you can send a picture a day to the ADA about life with diabetes. I'm lumping this one into the can't hurt/might help category.

Like the JDRF campaign, although they say they hope to create awareness among the unaffected, I doubt they'll do much of that, and again, I don't think it matters if they do. They've got a ton of us who ARE affected. At the same time, the Internet likes pictures and photo campaigns have a way of getting a lot of cool submissions. My expectation is that if the pics are all posted somewhere (which the ADA doesn't say it's going to do), they'll get a lot of online activity. For better or for worse, I suspect those looking at them will already know full well about the disease.

However you decide to celebrate Diabetes Month, make it a sweet one!


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