ADA centers new effort on men's 'quality of life'

ALEXANDRIA, VA: The American Diabetes Association (ADA) launched a campaign, in conjunction with Solvay Pharmaceuticals, to raise awareness about health concerns facing men with Type 2 diabetes, particularly the side effects that go beyond the usual low blood sugar.

ALEXANDRIA, VA: The American Diabetes Association (ADA) launched a campaign, in conjunction with Solvay Pharmaceuticals, to raise awareness about health concerns facing men with Type 2 diabetes, particularly the side effects that go beyond the usual low blood sugar.

The effort, which opened on September 9, hopes to educate men, ages 40 to 60, about the “quality of life” issues that can be affected by Type 2 diabetes, like low testosterone levels, said Erinn White, EVP and GM for HealthStar Public Relations, which is providing support on the campaign.

Low testosterone is “often trivialized” in the media, White said, adding, “Men with diabetes need to take a more modern approach.”

This is the first time an ADA awareness campaign has focused on men's emotional and sexual health needs.

“We want to stay relevant,” said Diane Tuncer, MD of external communications at the Alexandria, VA-based nonprofit. “Historically, the ADA has focused on the clinical and scientific [side] of diabetes.”

Early media outreach focused on stories in Reuters and The Associated Press, information sites like WebMD, and women's magazines, said David Schemelia, SVP and media director at HealthStar.

Marietta, GA-based Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which is also a client of HealthStar, sells AndroGel, a topical gel used to treat low testosterone. Solvay is a sponsor of the ADA campaign, but its products do not appear in it. The ADA accepted a “low, seven-figure” educational grant from Solvay as part of the campaign's sponsorship, Tuncer said.

The campaign also targets the spouses of men with diabetes information because women often “take the medical caregiver role,” White added.

ADA created a guide, called The Modern Man's Guide to Living Well with Diabetes, and a PSA for the campaign. Both can be found on the ADA's Web site, which includes a separate page for the campaign (diabetes.org/menshealth), updated health information, and the results of a survey conducted for the effort.

The Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes tour, which will visit 20 cities across the US beginning in October, will also include booths that provide information about men's health and a health representative who can discuss the conditions.

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