Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Special Edition: American Diabetes Association Expo 2013 Recap

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Special Edition: American Diabetes Association Expo 2013 Recap

Diabetes affects 24 million people in the U.S., but only 18 million know they have it. About 90% of those people have type 2 diabetes, a condition that can largely be controlled through diet and exercise.  Furthermore, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine states a person with type 2 diabetes may spend an average of nearly $85,500 to treat the disease and its complications over his or her lifetime. Might be something we want to get a handle on.

Being diabetic myself, the cause is obviously near and dear to my heart.  As such, I try to get involved as much as possible in order to create awareness and make a difference in people's lives by teaching them how to successfully avoid and/or control this deadly disease which has become a global epidemic. I also tend to get a little fired up when I see it manipulated and/or pimped out for financial benefit as the expense of those suffering from it.

Cue Pittsburgh Kettlebell's participation in this past weekends American Diabetes Association Pittsburgh Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center......

WARNING: NSFW language ahead.

Within 30 seconds of entering the event my overall thoughts are already best summed up by the late, great Amy Winehouse:

"What kind of fuckery is this?"

My first sight is a row of tables with so-called "Health Coaches" counseling folks on what I assume are lifestyle and diet changes they can implement in small and sustainable steps. Not a bad idea - though I'm not sure people are going to put much trust or faith in "Health Coaches" who are visibly 30 pounds overweight and unapologetically sucking down 48oz. cola's in front of them while dispensing said advice?!?! No I'm not making this up, and no it wasn't isolated to one individual. I guess it's "do as I say, not as I do"? Parents out there know how well that one works with your kids; the results aren't much better with adults.

After shaking my head in disgust I continued on to the Pittsburgh Kettlebell's booth to meet up with the rest of the team, encountering the obligatory UPMC and pharmaceutical booths along the way.

I wonder what the 'UNskilled labor' charge is?

Here, I was excited to finally see what the convention center's $250 'skilled labor' charge entailed. Well, now you know too - hanging a banner over a curtain. I shit you not. Luckily, despite being union, they allowed us to perform our own 'skilled labor' in order to avoid being shafted sans lube. For those keeping score, there was also a $150 charge to have electricity for the day. I guess they have a whole different definition of 'green' energy?

At this point I decided to take a stroll through the rest of the convention to see what's what. The following is a brief smattering of what I saw:

Concession Menu. Not exactly 'diabetic friendly'. I guess they didn't read the 'gluten-free' propaganda at the Giant Eagle  booth! Though it sadly most likely looks very similar to the menu your child chooses from at school. With choices like these it's no surprise obesity and diabetes are inflicting people younger and younger each year.

"As often happens, the processed food industry has no idea what they're doing. Or, even worse, they know exactly what they're doing and don't care because they see this wonderful explosion in interest in gluten-free [products], so they step in as opportunists. That's why we have all these breakfast cereals right now being called gluten-free, but they're made with junk. They're sugar and cornstarch or some nonsense like puffed rice. These are awful for you." - Dr. William Davis

Processed Food Industry FAIL #2. Domino light. Peddled unsurprisingly by yet another individual a good 30 pounds overweight. Let's not actually educate people on how to make better food choices by avoiding processed foods period, let's have them continue to eat the same crap that got them where they are in the first place all under the guise of 'diabetic friendly', 'all-natural', and 'low-carb' crap. Hell of a ruse if I ever saw one.
Everything is natural! Dog shit is natural! It's just not real good food! —George Carlin

One of the numerous venders peddling glorified candy bars as a solution for diabetics. No way these taste as good as a Twix. Just saying. Anything for a buck, no matter at whose expense.

Walmart and diabetes prevention in the same sentence? Talk about the definition of oxyMORON. Here, they can be seen showcasing all the products they carry which are UNFIT for diabetic consumption. Namely - ALL OF THEM!

Healthcare provider pimping the Dean Ornish diet. Great, if you like bland and tasteless food which jeopardizes your health by overly restricting multiple essential nutrients.

What does my friend think of Dr. Ornish???


But hey - at least they are giving out 'Heart-healthy' Cheerios!

Ironically wouldn't meet Ornish Diet standards under most conditions
While the EXPO was billed as a place to obtain "the latest information on preventing and managing diabetes and its deadly complications to help keep you and your family healthy", after attending I sadly can't classify it as much more than a shameless money-grab for the ADA, processed food companies, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies; as well as a boon for that special demographic of Pittsburgher's who just want FREE stuff.

Seriously, I would estimate that 80% or so of the people in attendance seemed to have no interest in useful information or strategies to improve their health, only what you offered as free 'swag'. I swear a small handful of folks had every intention of just slipping a kettlebell in their bag to take home until they realized how much it weighed! Comical to say the least.

But other than that the same tired dogma about restricting salt and saturated fat, while increasing consumption of 'whole-grains' - which of course you can do by buying their latest product X! Ugh.

All this at the expense of a diabetic population that has been misled and lied to for the past 60 years or so. While we did meet a small group of wonderful attendees and presenters, like Rachel from Ohio Valley Hospital, who were genuine in their motives and intentions to help and make a difference in this thing - overall it was widely a wasted opportunity to make a real difference.

I can't help but wonder sometimes if any of the major players are ACTUALLY interested in making a difference, or would just prefer to pretend they are....

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