For the past several weeks the color pink has been indiscreetly everywhere — on our badges at work, littered throughout commercials and cereal boxes. It has even made an appearance all over our football players on Sunday afternoon. For current fighters and past survivors of breast cancer this is an incredible phenomenon and great show of support. We have made an automatic association between breast cancer and the color pink in our every day lives. Every time I see the color pink, however, I begin to think about how a campaign got so big and how we could get people to care enough about the preventable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol to replicate the efforts that the pink campaign has produced.
There is certainly funding directed at these diseases but compared to the relative ‘awareness’ of breast cancer, there is still an overwhelming lack of awareness of the fact that the diseases that are killing most can be prevented by what you do everyday and do not hinge on screening. The evidence on these diseases is striking but we are hitting a wall on how to increase education and therefore improve behavior.
Perhaps the key is doing what breast cancer awareness has done — pick a theme and make it stick by not taking it out of the game — ever. Maybe children who already have diabetes mellitus type II can be inspired by knowing their favorite football players are playing with the ‘diabetes color’ so they are more aware of their disease and take the steps to be more active too. The visibility that could be achieved would be incredible and with that the funding required to make programs dedicated to get people better.
Photo Credit: G155