Health Care Trends With a Social Media Twist
Paula Deen, host of the Food Network’s “Paula’s Best Dishes” confirmed this week that she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes three years ago, though she has not stopped cooking with the buttery, Southern style for which she is famous.
One of about 26 million Americans living with diabetes - a chronic disease in which blood-sugar levels are abnormally high in the body, with most people overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis – Deen is being criticized by many for her decision to speak up only now that she is being paid by Novo Nordisk, because she is being treated with a company product.
Among her most vocal critics is Anthony Bourdain, a New York-based chef and host of the Travel Channel's "No Reservations,” who quipped on Twitter, “Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later.”
With the International Diabetes Foundation reporting that the number of people living with diabetes globally expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030 and with as many as 183 million people unaware they have diabetes, it is important to raise awareness for this devastating medical condition that brings with it the potential for several comorbid conditions, including obesity and cancer; however, what are we saying as a society when celebrity spokespeople lend their name and reputation to raising a disease profile only when paid to do so.?
Call me skeptical, but I find it hard to believe that Deen didn’t say anything about her condition because she didn’t have anything to offer before now. Millions follow her so why not encourage moderation and a discussion on how to eat a little healthier. After all, her son, Bobby, is about to launch a new cooking show, Not My Mama’s Meals, that reworks some of his mother’s more notoriously bad-for-you foods.
What do you think? Does Paul Deen talking about diabetes now that she is a celebrity spokesperson put a bad taste in your mouth or is it more important that the dialogue is taking place and more attention is being paid to this global problem?