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NBC 'Today' Co-Host Al Roker to Serve as a National Ambassador for Inspired by Diabetes Campaign to Help Children With Diabetes

Program encourages people affected by diabetes to enter art contest

providing camp scholarships for kids in the U.S.

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Al Roker, NBC "Today" co- host and America's favorite weatherman, is joining the Inspired by Diabetes global campaign as a National Ambassador to raise awareness of the growing diabetes epidemic in the U.S.

Inspired by Diabetes is a global collaboration among Eli Lilly and Company, the International Diabetes Federation's Unite for Diabetes initiative and the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes. In the United States, the American Diabetes Association is serving as the Inspired by Diabetes U.S. national advocate.

As a National Ambassador, Roker will promote the Inspired by Diabetes Creative Expression Competition, a contest inviting people with diabetes, as well as their family and friends, to share their diabetes journeys through art, essay, poetry, photography and music ( Additionally, as part of American Diabetes Month and as a lead-in to the first United Nations-designated World Diabetes Day on November 14, Roker will host an "Inspired by Diabetes Day" at the Children's Museum of Manhattan and an NBC News Special on Diabetes, airing in major markets, on November 10. The special is sponsored by Lilly, a global leader in diabetes care.

November is American Diabetes Month, organized by the American Diabetes Association. This year's theme is "The Many Faces of Diabetes," spotlighting the role of people with diabetes, caregivers, people in the workplace, at-risk populations and children in the daily challenges of managing diabetes. ADA is the U.S. National Advocate for the Inspired by Diabetes campaign and is encouraging people affected by diabetes to enter the contest.

Roker, who has actively supported programs combating childhood obesity through his production company Al Roker Productions, Inc., has joined Inspired by Diabetes to help raise awareness of what Americans can do to improve their own health in the face of the diabetes epidemic, including the rise of type 2 diabetes in children.

According to two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) conducted from 1976-1980 and again in 2003-2004, the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased from 6.5 percent to nearly 19 percent in children ages 6 to 11 and jumped from 5 percent to 17.4 percent in American teenagers.(1) Further, the CDC indicates that the epidemics of obesity and the low level of physical activity among young people may be major contributors to the increase in type 2 diabetes during childhood and adolescence.(2)

"More than 21 million children and adults have diabetes in this country, so it is critical for our friends, families and communities to understand the impact the disease can have and what we can do to stay healthy," Roker said. "The Inspired by Diabetes campaign puts a national spotlight on this epidemic, and I'm inspired by the program's commitment to helping children both here in the United States and around the world."

By entering the Inspired by Diabetes competition, participants can have a direct impact on the lives of children with diabetes around the world. For each entry received in the U.S., Eli Lilly and Company will contribute funds toward diabetes youth outreach initiatives in the U.S. through scholarships for ADA diabetes camps. Globally, Lilly will donate funds to IDF's Life for a Child program providing life-saving diabetes supplies to more than 500 children in 13 developing countries.

"Al's genuine care and compassion for the well-being of our communities is truly moving, and we are thrilled to have him as the National Ambassador for Inspired by Diabetes," said Darlene Cain, Chair of the ADA Board. "By lending his infectious enthusiasm to our program, Al plays an important and influential role in inspiring others to contribute to the Inspired by Diabetes contest."

Inspired by Diabetes Contest Information

Children, people with diabetes and their family members and friends are encouraged to enter the contest. Health care professionals are also invited to enter. Grand prize winners will be selected for both the U.S. and global contests for each participant category (see below), with the winners (excluding health care professionals) receiving a trip to attend a media briefing and formal exhibition of the winning entries.

Participants from the United States will also have their submissions entered into a separate U.S. contest with a chance to win both the global and national competitions. U.S. grand prize winners will also receive tickets and backstage passes to attend an Elliott Yamin concert in 2008. The entry deadline for the contest is January 31, 2008. For all rules and regulations, go to

Participant categories in the Inspired by Diabetes contest are:

-- Children (age sub-groups 5-6, 7-8, 9-12, 13-17 years old; includes

children with diabetes or family members or friends under 18)

-- Adult with diabetes (ages 18 and older)

-- Family member or friend of a person with diabetes

-- Health care professional

Entries may be submitted in the following formats:

-- Short essay or poem -- 500 words or less

-- Photograph(s) -- Up to three prints

-- Original drawing or painting -- no larger than 43cm x 66cm (17" x 26")

-- Music -- Original composition, up to three minutes in length

(instrumental and lyric)

How the Donations Work

Inspired by Diabetes builds on the theme of World Diabetes Day, dedicated to children and adolescents living with or at risk of diabetes worldwide. The spirit of the competition is to bring families and people with diabetes together to raise awareness of the global burden of diabetes -- and draw particular attention to people who do not have the resources they need to fight the disease.

When people enter the contest, they will receive two "blue circle" diabetes pins, illustrating the global symbol for diabetes. For each set of pins distributed, a dollar is donated by Lilly to the Life for a Child program. In addition, in the spirit of the Inspired by Diabetes campaign, Lilly will also make a separate donation to support the Life for a Child program on behalf of the contest winners. Entries from the U.S. will also trigger a donation from Lilly to support scholarships for children from low- income families to attend ADA summer camps. ADA is the largest provider of camp programs in the U.S. for children with diabetes and their families.

To learn more about Inspired by Diabetes and how to enter the Creative Expression Competition, visit:

About Unite for Diabetes and the International Diabetes Federation

Unite for Diabetes is a global campaign committed to raising awareness of diabetes and celebrating the United Nations' World Diabetes Day Resolution, which establishes the global agenda for the coming fight against the diabetes pandemic and designates 14 November as an official UN-observed World Diabetes Day beginning in 2007.

The Unite for Diabetes and World Diabetes Day campaigns are led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), a worldwide alliance of over 200 diabetes associations in more than 160 countries. Its mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. For more information, visit

About the American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's premier voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association provides services to hundreds of communities across the United States. For more information, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

About Lilly Diabetes

Through a long-standing commitment to diabetes care, Lilly provides patients with breakthrough treatments that enable them to live longer, healthier and fuller lives. Since 1923, Lilly has been the industry leader in pioneering therapies to help health care professionals improve the lives of people with diabetes, and research continues on innovative medicines to address the unmet needs of patients. For more information about Lilly's diabetes products, visit

About Eli Lilly and Company

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Information about Lilly is available at


(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity.

Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 2007.

(2) CDC. Diabetes Projects. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Chronic

Disease and Health Promotion, CDC, 2005.

(Logo: )

SOURCE Eli Lilly and Company
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