Chris Noth has an unquestionably recognizable face. Having starred in television shows that run the gamut of genres -- from Mr. Big in “Sex and the City” to Detective Mike Logan on “Law & Order” to Peter Florrick on “The Good Wife” -- Noth has attracted quite a bit of critical acclaim and fan attention.
Now, he’s using that star power to raise awareness about diabetes.
Pairing up with global healthcare company, Novo Nordisk, Noth is helping to launch a national campaign (Ask.Screen.Know) promoting diabetes screening and education. According to the CDC, in 2010, 25.8 million people in the United States were living with diabetes -- 8.3 percent of the American population. Seven million of these people were undiagnosed. It is this demographic that Ask.Screen.Know is trying to reach, specifically targeting adults over the age of 45.
“This is a disease that’s way too much under the radar,” Noth told The Huffington Post. “We’re trying to get ahead of the game with people; … encouraging [them] to call [their] doctors and get a blood test.”
Noth isn’t the first celebrity to lend his face to the cause of diabetes awareness. Earlier this year, celebrity father and daughter duo, Paul and Mira Sorvino, launched Diabetes Co-Stars, which encourages people living with diabetes to seek out the care and help that they need in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle -- and keep their diabetes under control. Paul Sorvino was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2006.
Both Ask.Screen.Know and Diabetes Co-Stars push people to re-examine their lifestyle choices, focusing largely on healthy eating and exercise. A 2002 study that examined diabetes prevention, found that “lifestyle interventions” such as weight loss and increased physical fitness reduce risk for developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent (and 71 percent for those over 60). “Why aren’t lightbulbs going off [in people’s heads]?” Noth asked. “Especially in a country where people are addicted to a diet of sugar, carbs and processed foods -- leading causes of diabetes as people get older.”
When asked about the role that celebrity spokespeople play in the dissemination of cause-based campaigns, Noth was quick to say that he’s there to “perk people’s curiosity.” Beyond diabetes, it has become commonplace for A-List actors, sports stars, singers and television personalities to brand health causes with their own faces.
Michael J. Fox has become practically synonymous with Parkinson’s Disease, which he was diagnosed with in 1991 and founded a research foundation for in 2000. Other public figures such as Magic Johnson (HIV/AIDS), Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer), Brooke Shields (postpartum depression) and Montel Williams (multiple sclerosis) have also taken on awareness and research efforts for diseases that they themselves have battled. Others, including Noth himself, have been drawn to these causes by family members or friends.
The ultimate hope is that a familiar face will make people want to listen. “I’m not a doctor; people know me from ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Law & Order,’ says Noth. “If I can get their attention, then so be it.”