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March 27, 2019 45 mins

You have a one in two chance of having prediabetes or diabetes. As staggering as this is, we can take steps right now to beat the odds, and that starts with knowing your glucose levels. On this episode recorded live from South by Southwest, host Baratunde Thurston sits down with iconic musician Tim McGraw, American Diabetes Association CEO, Tracey Brown, and Lark Health CEO/Co-Founder, Julia Hu to get the scoop on what we can do right now to live healthier lives, stop prediabetes from progressing, and more.


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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
I'm Baritune Day Thurston and this is Spit. Spit is
a collaboration between I Heart Media and twenty three and
Me and we recorded this episode for you in front
of a beautiful crowd in tortilla wrapped barbecue drenched Austin,
Texas for south By Southwest. Now, for those who don't
already know, and most of you should because this is

a top ten podcast, This show explores how d NA
is changing our lives and the world around us. Today,
we're going deep on type two diabetes. More than thirty
million Americans live with diabetes. Over eighty four million live
with pre diabetes. And here's what we want to know.
Why has this disease become such a widespread health crisis.

What are some of the easy steps that everyone can
take to take control of their health and stop pre
diabetes from progressing? And as scientists and organizations push for
a cure for type two, how can we remove the
stigma from diabetes and encourage people to get active and
take back their lives. Now, we've got some great science
to drop on you. We've got some passionate and compelling stories,

and I promise you're gonna be inspired by a lot
of what you here today. But before we get into
all that, let's meet our guests. To my far right,
the woman in red, Tracy D. Brown, has lived for
fifteen years. For over fifteen years with type two diabetes.
My daughter and I are very close, so she would

see me taking my insulin shot. She was five years
old and she looked at me. One day we were
in the bathroom. I was taking my blood sugar and
she said, Mommy, are you gonna die from diabetes? That
was the turning moment for me in which I said,
I'm gonna do everything in my power not to. She
is the CEO of the American Diabetes Association, and she

has a remarkable story leaving her high profile business and
marketing positions at the height of her career to take
diabetes head on. Thank you for being here, Tracy. Thank you.
To my immediate right, we have a co founder of Lark,
Julia Hugh. What if you could have a seven personal

care team that understood your numbers, understood your genetics, and
could chat with you like a friend at any point
in time when you needed health. Her health app was
named by Forbes as one of the most innovative in
the world. Lark uses technology to deliver incredible and compassionate
one on one care. We'll learn why Lark teamed up

with twenty three and me and how the company is
using genetic analysis to help people make healthier choices. And
thank you so much, Julia who for being here. Thanks
so much, guys. Yes, and finally we have the iconic
Tim McGraw. My face pops up on the screen for
this movie, and my daughter looked at me and says, geez, dad,

because I was about heavier. You know, my kids are
old enough to notice the lifestyle that I'm leading. You
know him as an actor, a multi Grammy winning, multi
platinum artist. He's also got a new line of fitness
gyms called True mav and a new fitness book coming
out this fall called Grit and Grace. He's also been
the face of America's Diabetes Challenge. Tim McGraw, thank you

for being here. And Tim, I want to start with you.
You've been an apple. Yes, we're gonna get right back
to talking all these smart people. Yeah, go first, that's
what We're gonna start with you, and then we'll climb
from there. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
So listen, I know you've been an athlete much of

your life. Your father, Tug was a professional baseball player
for much of his life, and as was your uncle.
This is this is in the family. Fitness is in
the family. And your friends say you have this reputation
for coaching and cheerleading and trying to bring the best
out of folks around you. In fact, I did a
an image search for you this morning. It humbled me.

Made me start doing push ups right away, push ups
and crunches, plank all day every day. Just if you
google image search to mcgrawl, you're gonna start planking, uh immediately. Now,
ten years ago, you had this relatively sudden, i'd say,
dramatic shift in your focus on health. Do the life
on the road, maybe, do the situations within your family.
Can you share with us what prompted that shift and

how you managed and learned from life on the road
to this new focus on health and well, sure, you
know there was one specific thing that was sort of
an aha aha moment for me, But it was a
confluence of things in my life and factors that we're
leading me to start paying attention more and more to
my health. Having kids will do that for you, because
you want to be around to see them grow up

and seeing what they make out of themselves, and and
certainly you want to be around to be a grandparent
and see their kids thrive. So that was a factor.
Um life on the road and being busy and not
taking care of yourself. And you know, everybody's got a
busy lifestyle, so it's hard to find time to take
care of yourself. But one particular moment that really sort
of made me take a good hard look at what
I was doing and sort of shift my life around

and and focus better on my health and being around
for my kids. We were at a Christmas movie and
the trailers were coming on, and I had just finished
the movie that I hadn't seen or didn't see anything about,
and still haven't seen it to this day. Isn't really proud.
It's probably because of this that had happened. We were
in the movie theater and my girls were with me
and my wife and and sure enough, two trailers into

the program, my face pops up on the screen for
this movie, and my daughter looked at me and says, geez, dad,
Because I was about forty pounds heavier and she was
at that time she was ten when she said, geez, dad,
She wasn't like she was like, geez, dad, you're embarrassing me.

But no, it was a wake up call to me that,
you know, my kids are old enough to notice the
lifestyle that I'm leading. And I think that was there
was more to it than just that picture, that image
of me that she saw, because kids can be very
intuitive and they can be very smart. They can certainly
drop words of wisdom on you, just like and they
don't have the filters that grow up and they don't
have the filters that way. So that was a big
turning point in my life. And I wanted to get healthy,

and I wanted to be around, and I was having
a very successful career. My wife is having a successful career,
my kids are doing fantastic. I wanted to stick around
and want to continue have a great career. I wanted
to continue to work hard. I want to just continue
to be productive. I wanted to continue to be clear
eyed and clearheaded about what I wanted to do and
where I wanted to go in my life. And I
wanted to set a good example for my children. Well,

it sounds like you've been able to do that. How
hard is that with the life of a musician touring.
We've talked to so many artists on this show who
have built in challenges to their career choice because you're
not eating, you're not a control of your your diet
or your movement. Often, how have you been able to
build in routines to to be able to to achieve that? Well,

you know, it's a struggle to start with. But once
I found my footing and realized that it was going
to be a real commitment to me, so I just
made it part of my program and what I did
for me, and you know, it works different for everyone.
Just start doing something every day, no matter what it is,
something physical every day, whether it's go out and take
a ten minute walk and walk ten minutes back home.
Start doing something every day and it leads to something.

And for me, when it started becoming part of what
I looked at as my work preparation, and when I
looked at it from that point of view, what my
livelihood and my kids livelihood, and and how I'm gonna
pay for their college which is very expensive, where my
kid goes to pay for their college, it turned into
this is gonna be part of me punching the clock

every morning, and every morning at eight o'clock or whenever
I find times where I can't do it at eight o'clock.
But I told everybody works for me that this is
part of my routine. This is gonna be part of
my life from here on out. And and look at
this as part of my job. I heard you tour
with a gym. We do. I mean we have a
gym and we have ropes and tires and anything you
can imagine. It's out of outside military training. It's kind

of the whole camp. We start out with about ten
guys that start out the day with us, and we
end up with two or three left by the end
of it. But this is open to the rest of
your band, to your crew, band, crew, opening acts, whoever
wants to use it that are on our tour for sure. Yeah,
and it's it's open to anybody, and we always encourage
people to join in. And we have fun with it too,
because for us, it's a team building exercises as much

as anything. Because when we're out there doing that together
and accomplishing things together, and we we come up with
ideas for our show and ideas that we want to
do with our lighting and song ideas and all that
stuff sort of happens. Which does happen when the endorphins
are fired and your mind's getting clear and you're working,
working all the bad stuff out of your body. I
guess you're giving us a different image of the stereotypical
view of a band on the road. We've got a

lot of imagery and I had about hard partying and
drinking and irresponsible behavior. Can tell you some of those stories. No, no, no,
According to Tim, bands are doing don't do that anymore.
So I want to talk to you about how you
became the face of this America's Diabetes Challenge and what

is your relationship or connection or passion around type two diabetes. First,
when when I was asked to be a part of
the American Diabetes Challenge, the first thing I thought of,
this is a great way to motivate people and inform people.
And if if I can use my celebrity cash, I
guess to bring awareness something. That's what you're supposed to
use it for. Right, If you're gonna put your face
and step out and do something, you're supposed to do

something that that's for the good of the community. I
think For me, it was about health and lifestyle and
fitness and and things that you can physically put your
hand on to do to make your life better. And
that's getting information and moving like if you're laying on
the bed and the bed spinning and you put your
foot on the ground, so find something and you can
grab a hole to start to spin in the right direction.
For me, that's what it was. And I had an aunt,

my great aunt, who was really more like man because
she was my grandmother's younger sister, so she was closer
to my mom's age, and she was a beloved aunt,
and she battled type two diabetes and eventually died way
too young from complications from it. So it was a
personal to me as well. But but the main thing
is improving your health and proves you never know who's

watching you, and if you do something positive, somebody else
is gonna guarantee somebody else has following along doing something
positive as well, whether you know it or not, and
somebody's watching them and they're falling along and doing something
positive as well. So you can make an exponential change
just by setting an example. Well, thanks for that example,
and I think it's a great segue Tracy to your story,

your connection to this. You are in the business of
getting information to folks and encouraging us to move, But
how did this start for you? And where does that
personal connection to type two come from? So it's really
um similar to Tim. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes
when I was pregnant with my daughter, and for eight
percent of the women, it goes away after you have

your child, for it remains. And so I was in
that that it moved from gestational to type two and
I probably should have taken the diagnosis seriously then, and
I didn't. I'm pretty type A, I'm pretty competitive. I
figured I got this, I can figure this out. And

it wasn't until my daughter. My daughter and I are
very close, so she would see me taking my insulin shots.
She would see me, you know, just pricking my finger
every day. She was five years old, and she looked
at me. One day we were in the bathroom. I
was taking my blood sugar and she said, Mommy, are
you gonna die from diabetes? And that was the turning

moment for me. One of the things specifically that I'm
really passionate about is there's still a lot of stigma
associated with diabetes. When people hear my story and I
basically unapologetically tell my story to whoever whenever, as often
as I possibly can, people will always say to me,

you don't look like you have diabetes, and so what
do you think they mean by that? I think what
they're trying, I hope what they're trying to say is
you look pretty good, looks realty good. But I think
what they're implying is that people who are living with

this disease has either done something themselves to get it,
or they assume that you are not fit, you're not athletic,
that you're overweight, that you're just generally not healthy, and
therefore that is why you have diabetes, and that couldn't
be further from the truth. Yes, there are lifestyle factors,

but genetics play a role in this as well. Yes,
your lifestyle plays a role. But you can be very,
very healthy and still be living with this disease. And
it's one of the few disease states. When you tell
someone that you're living with diabetes, they just they don't

if you say that you're living with another disease state,
and god for bid anyone has any of them. But
if you tell someone you're living with cancer, it's a
completely different reaction the judgment, right, And so that's part
of how I came. It was just my daughter. I
want to be around for her for a very long time.
The old things you can, right, that's exactly right. And

listen to your children and maybe maybe it's twenty years later,
they'll thank you. Right now, they just want what they want.
Can can you help us get into the numbers? Yes,
I shared some what to me are still alarming numbers
of the number of Americans who have full blown Type
two and the eight four million who have pre diabetes

and those who don't know that they are pre diabetic.
There are some just alarming statistics around this health crisis.
So there are thirty million Americans living with diabetes and
the number is growing. You multiply that by ten for
the world, so over three d million in the world.

There are two people who die per day from diabetes
and its complications, which a lot of people have no
idea that is the case. When you look at the
population who is affected by pre diabetes or diabetes. Just
put this in perspective. You have a one chance of

getting E. Coli. You have a one in ten billion
chance of getting mad cow disease, right like, do you
see your reaction exactly? And then you have one in
four hundred eighty chants of having breast cancer, a one
and forty two chants of having heart disease, but a

one in two chance of having pre diabetes or diabetes.
So half of us are affected with pre diabetes and diabetes.
Yet the sense of urgency around doing something to combat
and stop this health crisis isn't as high. It starts
with awareness. You have to know your numbers, and most

people don't even know what number? Is it my blood sugar,
my blood glucose? Is it a one ce? What is
it that I should know? And so the first order
of business is just getting people aware. We talk about
that everyone is connected through diabetes, with one out of
two people living with pre diabetes or diabetes, someone you know,

if not yourself, your family, your aunt, your uncle, your spouse,
your friend, your neighbor, someone that you know has diabetes.
So we're connected for life. You have my attention, I
think you have everyone's attention with one and two that's
me or someone right next to me, So that's everybody.
What does it mean to be pre diabetic. What is

the difference between pre diabetes and type two and can
you help us understand? Okay, I'm alarmed, I'm leaning forward here.
What does that mean? Yes, so pre diabetes. There are
two numbers that we tend to look at. One is
the A one C, which is a hemoglobin blood test.
If you and everyone can get that and you should

demand it when you go to the doctor's text Well,
I don't know if Starbucks account everywhere demands taking this test.
If you're A one C is below five point seven,
you do not have diabetes. If you're between five point
seven and six point five, that is what we would
term as pre diabetes. Anything higher than six point five

is diabetes. The other test that you can take is
where you see people pricking their finger blood glucose or
blood sugar, and just so that everyone knows the blood
glucose are blood sugar is what gives us energy. When
you have type two diabetes, you don't have enough insulin,
and insulin you can think of as the key that

unlocks the ability for your cell else to get that
blood glucose so that you can have energy. You can
actually get your blood glucose tested at any clinic, any doctor,
but start with knowing your numbers with eighty four million
people with pre diabetes and not knowing no first, and
then actually just start modifying your behavior so that you

don't move over into full blown How did we get here?
Do you describe? These numbers are increasing? They sound alarming.
I don't remember thirty years ago hearing such large numbers.
What do we know about what has caused this explosion?
I am not a doctor or a genetic scientists, but
here's what I do know. There are a lot of

things that are happening in terms of how we eat,
are exercise or lack there of, how you actually manage
your stress, your sleep, All of these things actually contribute.
And just think about how the world continues to change.
We have this superwhere from anything, I mean, it's just

there's a lot going on in the world. Then with
one out of two people subject to developed our beats,
I mean that that's a good argument for benefits all
of us to have good health care exacting where everyone.
If only there were a way to use technology to
help us get better access to healthcare. Julie, who let there?

Can you tell us you're the co founder of this
This company Lark, which is using artificial intelligence essentially to
provide sort of a nurse in the cloud at our
fingertips literally through text messaging. What's your connection to chronic disease?
Why did you build a company focused on helping people
manage their diseases? Yeah, so, I mean listening to these

inspirational stories about you know your kids. Similarly, for me,
it was my dad. So I grew up with a
chronic disease and it was undiagnosed for the first twenty
five years of my life, and it was just so
painful ever since I was a little kid. My dad
took me to thirty specialists. No one could figure out

what I had. They gave up on me. He kept
on searching, he quit his day job, kept on searching.
Finally found this doctor, this pediatrician. It wasn't even a
special and Dr Pang had no idea what I had,
but worked with me and him every week and he
was like everything for me. He was my therapist. He

coached me over twelve years how to completely change my diet,
completely changed how I exercised, how I managed stress, how
I managed the awkward friend and bully conversations. Um my
pain my medication over twelve years, got rid of around

nine of my attacks. It was so helpful for me.
And then my dad was there be my cheerleader and
just giving me so much love. And the two of
them were like my twenty four seven personal care team.
And I still manage my chronic conditions. I'd like to

hire you as my personal trait and you know so yeah,
So they were my Tim McGraw exactly. And I thought,
what if everyone could have a Tim McGraw And so unfortunately,

I mean, billions of people have chronic conditions, and they're
not enough nurses, they're not enough doctors in the world.
What if you could have a seven personal care team
that understood your numbers, understood your genetics, and could chat
with you like a friend at any point in time
when you needed help. So Lark is trying to help

anyone with chronic disease have compassionate but also medically informed
personalized healthcare whenever they needed. Yeah, the medically informed part
is critical. There's a lot of promise from technology and
apps that doesn't have substance and yours program and your
company does you will recently announced a certification from the

Centers for disease control and prevention. Can you explain what
that is? Yeah, the CDC has done decades of research
on how to most effectively prevent diabetes, and they've created
a CDC Diabetes prevention program and they've done a lot
of work. And Tracy's organization has done so much work

and in certifying and recognizing the core curriculum. So the
CDC created this way to offer certifications to different types
of companies for those who are clinically robust. We recently,
after several years, received the highest level of clinical certification

by the CDC to be able to provide digital care
to pre diabetics to prevent their diabetes. If you're able
to help someone lose five percent of body weight, you're
able to reduce the onset of type two diabetes by
fifty eight percent. So it's a huge way to start

fighting type two diabetes. So now we are the second
largest CDC diabetes prevention program healthcare provider in the country,
the fastest growing. Thank you. That's um. We we've helped
close to two million people fight and prevent diabetes and

we really really are excited to be with this great
twenty three and me program to reach more people and
the way that program works. Can you describe what the
partnership looks like. Sure, So our scientists worked with their
scientists for the past year. It's a lot of sciences,
a lot of science. It's a lot of smart people,
a lot smarter than me. So we have been able

to take the science of that they've created all of
the interventions that you can do to prevent diabetes and
lose weight most effectively if you have a certain genetic variant.
So it's really personalized, super personalized, and we take that.
We combine it with our coaching, which is based on

your weight, and we coach you on nutrition, we coach
you on exercise, we coach you on sleep, stress, and
it's it's basically taking their data and coaching you at
the right moment with a text messaging. So it's one
on one text messaging based on your genetics and other facts.
So this is while beyond like you up, this is

a serious text messaging back and forth. Tracy, in this organization,
you were appointed rose to the power of president. We
are sitting with Madam President in mid twenty team. What
is the effect on people once they know, once they
feel like they have tools, whether it's lark or something else,
to help them manage the disease, to help them live

better with it, to even help reduce their risk. How
do they respond to that? What I think works most effectively,
and what has worked for me, is when you feel empowered.
When you know I have recently started wearing UM a
continuous glucose monitor myself because I want the data to
understand how my body is affected by what I eat,

how I exercise, how I sleep, And so this notion
of empowerment. What we're really trying to get to is
people to change their behavior and make this a part
of their lifestyle. That's when the change actually sticks. And
so A it starts with knowing be it starts with

providing them with the tools that they need. So UM,
the American Diabetes Association we have obviously a lot of knowledge,
education and tools. We have a website that has a
robust set of information. We to partner very closely with
the CDC, and in fact, the American Diabetes Association Standards

of Care is the gold standard of how to care
and manage diabetes. So it's driving their awareness, getting them
the tools. But then you have to have some winds
along the way, and I talk about just making progress. Yes,

we have a goal that we want to get to.
There are very few things that you do in life
that go from zero to perfection, and so we just say,
let's get better and empowering with knowledge and tools are
the way to do that. I know for me the unlock.
I worked myself off of insulin. I cut my my

That is a big deal, thank you. I cut my
orals in half. And as someone living with type two
versus type one, we do have the ability to work
our way off of some of these medications. And so
I plateaued. What makes diabetes very complicated is there is

no one size fits all. Everybody's body reacts very differently
to things. But here's the thing I thought I had
been managing all this time. I try to manage my
carbohydrate intake. I thought I could have a palmful of rice,
palmful of French fries liked, you know, not zero, a
unique quantity of French to satisfy. What what I learned

from my continuous glucose monitor is it doesn't matter how
much rice I have. Rice just doesn't react good with
my body. So I started with the palm and I
would see my because you see it, immediately my blood
glucose shoot up. And then I was like, well, let
me half cut that in half, so it's like half
a pomp and it's shot up. But what I noticed

was when I ate shoe string french fries, the little
palm full of shoe string french fries, I didn't have
as high of a spike. So what this continuous glucose
monitors started to teach me is what foods I actually
just need to take out of my diet because it
just doesn't work for me. And now I am back
to managing my diabetes better than I have in quite

some time. I feel better than I have in a
very long time, and I really do. I'm taking those
steps to get off, but it's an additional tool that
I had to put in my toolbox to help me.
Are there factors that keep people from doing that? Are
there social factors? Are economic factors? Is there a percentage
of people who just don't do it? I mean, what's

other numbers on that. That's a great question from my
co host Tim Brother. Yes, I mean that that is
part of the reason the numbers are growing at the
alarming rates that they're growing. Is because there just isn't
the behavior change, and so I think there are a
number of barriers for people from a medical perspective. There's

just for some flat out denial like myself, Right, okay,
I shouldn't know better. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes,
then it turned into type two and I really did
nothing to control it for five years. The impact that
that five years has had on me, just a few
more statistics. Every two minutes someone has a stroke from

diabetes and its complications, every five minutes someone's losing a limb,
and every ten minutes somebody's having liver and kidney failure.
So five years went by of not good things happening
to my organs. I talk about getting tested and knowing, well,

many people in America actually don't have access to go
get that done easily. And then you add on top
of that food and nutrition. So if you look at
the diabetes Belt, which is in the southern part of
the United States, there are many places there are food deserts,

meaning they don't have grocery stores within miles to even
get the healthier, fresher foods. So when you start to
add all of those things up, man is barrier after barrier,
and one of the things that the American Diabetes Association
is doing is saying, how do we actually simplify and

make it easy for people to get the things that
they need. We have to meet people where they are.
This brings me right back to usually and Lark, because
we are in our phones right wherever we are physically,
we have this tool. Can you tell us about the
effectiveness of the prompting? Yeah, it's amazing because as I

listened to all of these things were always on our phones.
So that's to me, managing a chronic disease is like
managing your own psychology, changing your lifestyle, changing your behavior.
Living with the stigmatized disease, it's it's debilitating. Sometimes we
hear about people's loneliness, their sense of frustration. That's why

we wanted to create an AI nurse that had a personality,
that had a caring personality, that cared about you, that
was a little quirky and tried to just talk you
through it and help you emotionally feel better and feel
more in control. And so we worked with a lot
of not just doctors, but Harvard and Stanford faculty and

cognitive behavioral therapy, to really use talk therapy to try
and turn your perception around so that you wouldn't feel
like it was your fault that there was shame, and
that's the first step toward really creating change in your lifestyle.
It's really fun. But you know, in the last year alone,

our patients and our members have chatted with their lark
coach three hundred sixty million times back and forth. You know,
if that were live nurses, that would be the equivalent
of twenty thousand, eight hundred thirty three live nurses for

us what we think is the crux of diabetes. Of course,
it's definitely knowing your numbers, but then knowing that behavior
change is a kind of a lifetime journey and to
not be hard on yourself to just make some progress.
As Tracy said, right like, we're all human when we
all kind of backtrack sometimes, but it's okay. And at

one am, you know, when you're feeling really low, you
can chat with your Larker coach and she'll chat through
things with you. You know, that's the hope. Yeah, I
like that idea. My mother was dealing with colon cancer
toward the end of her life and managing the process,
getting the right information, keeping your spirits up. Working through

this the medical system, it's like you need your own
private doctor, your own temp acraw, your own mark coach
or something like it, and maybe a lawyer too sometimes
to have that assistance. I think we're at this festival
right now, which is about the power of technology in
so many ways, and there's so much use of it
that is going to scooting and eating faster and getting

things delivered to us that are very convenient. This is
about a more essential use, about being there for our children,
about being there for our parents. You know, I commend
all the work you all are doing to apply some
of these superpowers to something truly good, because the stats
you've shared with us, the stories you've shared with us crazy.
They sound like war. You know, every few minutes someone

losing a limb. That's a level of violence that is extraordinary.
And I don't recall this issue being discussed. I haven't
been as tuned in, certainly. I'm not saying it hasn't
been done. You're doing the work, but just thank you
for for being a part of it. I want to
go to where we go and some of what the
impact is now, Tim, you have gone through your own evolution,

your in your family, with your band. What do you
see now that people are working out with you in
your own gyms or in your road cross fit you know,
Rocker Country gym. What is the impact of that on
the folks that you love? And No to the psychology
that you were talking about. I mean this sort of
starts there, the psychology of teaching someone that it's okay
to take control of something. Because some people are a

lot of people and and and even successful people have
a hard time sometimes of taking control of things and
being in control of something. So given someone an opportunity
in the psychology behind what taking control of something will
do for you and what what that will lead to
is what I've seen the difference in more than anything,
taking one little thing and taking control of your health
and being in control of your health and doing everything

that you can all the factors of course, yes there's
genetic factors and all those things, but the things that
you can concretely do, that you can do every day
that can help you move forward with your health creates
a ripple effect in the rest of your life, and
it creates a ripple effect in your relationships and your work,
and the way you think, and the way you sleep,
and all the things that happen in your life, and
it leads to a better quality of life with all

those factors together. And that's what I've noticed with my
guys and and my man and my friends and my
family who not because of me, but because of they've
taken control of their health and and and always drawn
analogy with the airplane. When you're on an airplane and
they say, if the oxygen mash should fall, be sure
to place it over your face first, because you can't
help anyone if you're passed out. So that's the same

logic that I think that you have to take in
the psychology that you have to take into your life
as you're taking care of your health, is if you
don't take care of yourself, you can't be there for
your kids, you can't be there for your mom, you
can't be there for your cousins, you can't be there
for your employer or your employees. So that's what I've noticed,
and that's the thing that's that's been the biggest effect
that I've seen, is somebody finding something that can take

control of their life, which leads to better things and
more things and bigger things that can take control of.
And what does that daughter of yours say now when
she sees you on the screen, You don't watch anything
so real? So keeping it so real? I love you man,
that's so wonderful. Where are we crazy with respect to
a cure? You know you've described this mission helping people

live with this disease but also bringing it into it.
Where are we and what do we have to do
to get closer? So we're still continuing to fight for cure.
It is very complex. It's very complicated. If it wasn't,
we would have found a cure. Fine now right we
The American Diabetes Association has been around for seventy nine years.
There are a lot of oregon zations that are also

focused on diabetes. There are lots of scientists and researchers
focused on diabetes. I wish I had a magic global
ball to predict Here's what I do know. Progress is
being made. The American Diabetes has a very innovative program
that we call Pathways where we fund young researchers. There's

data and study and statistics that say the Nobel Prize
winners usually think of their idea, their most creative idea
when they're younger, when they're in their thirties. So we
are are funding these young scientists and Diversity by Design
where taking them from wherever, just as long as they

have a passion for finding a cure or helping us manage,
helping those of us who are living with diabetes thrive.
So this research we have thirty researchers and already nine patents.
I met with a group of the Pathway scientists just
two weeks ago in New York. I believe that they're

going to crack the code somehow, some way, And while
they're continued to focus on a cure, I'm even more
convinced they're going to make it easier and more manageable
for all of us who are living with this disease
to thrive until we find a cure. But I wish
I had a crystal ball that they could say it's coming.

I just don't before the cure. Right in the meantime,
just knowing your numbers getting diagnosed and seeking that, I mean,
for now, it's all about at least action in managing
and preventing. I think the government has done amazing things
in creating pre diabetes. It's the first time that the

government has fully medically reimbursed a prevention program, which I
think is a huge step in the right way toward
a universal medical benefit that's free to treat prevention, rather
than just waiting for someone to have it and then
putting someone in much more expensive and much more of
a struggle healthcare struggles. Healthier population is good for all

of us. It is what's next for you and for Lark.
We're really excited about this work with twenty three and
me in just more to help them understand pre diabetes
treating that. But for us, it really is not just
about diabetes and pre diabetes. It's about all of the
major chronic conditions in society that we're dealing with. So

we just launched an AI hypertension nurse and AI smoking
cessation nurse and trying to just provide universal healthcare that's
compassionate and personally, I just I thought of something for
you AI nurses. How do human nurses feel about these
AI nurses. I hope that nurses understand that no one

can replace them, that their best features are the care
and the love that they give, but they just don't
have enough time and they're not enough nurses in the world.
My hope is that they see us as a friend, like, hey,
I can't work twenty four hours. There's eighty six million

pre diabetics out there. There's you know, hundreds of millions
of folks struggling with chronic diseases. I have a partner. Now,
I have someone who's doing the front line of defenses
for me. I can focus on the most difficult cases.
So that's who we try to be. A friend, n
advocate and a tool for the nurse. Yeah, yeah, what's

next for you? Oh? Man, I got nothing. I don't
know that that cannot be true. Be playing a lot
of shows this summer, A couple of things going on,
a couple of books working on. So I'm gonna be
pretty busy. You know. Got a junior in high school
or junior let's stay of to that's are talking about
the cost the college. And then um a daughter out

in l A's doing great stuff with acting. So I
got a lot going on in my family. And my
wife's busy. She's doing a TV show right now. So
everything's going on in our house. It's a revolving door
at our place. Pretty much. The starting from like February
Toil October November. We're pretty much on the go and
this book, and Grace, what prompted you to want to
put out a quote unquote celebrity book but about health, wellness, fitness.

And asked quite a few times about it because it's
been a long journey and you know, ten years of
and I've always been an athlete, you know, like Ius,
I come from a family of athletes and and and
always taking pretty good care of myself. But but when
I really took control and used it as a tool
from my work in my life, people ask me about
it a lot, and I don't have any real answers
for you except for, you know, these are the things

that I do. These are the way that I approach things.
And I think that you can attach some of these
things to any part of your life or any station
you're at in life, and they will help you move forward.
And that's what I think this book is about, sort
of my philosophy or how I came to this point
in my life and the mistakes that I make and
continue to make and will make, and the mistakes I've
made on the way. Look forward to seeing that in

more detailed. Thank you for cotting out to paper Tracy,
what's next for you and for the a d A.
It's just about kind of what we're doing right now,
awakening the world to the seriousness of this diabetes health
crisis and continuing to be that resource, credible, evidence based

organization that is going to continue to drive research and
fund research both to help us now and to continue
to find work your to continue to drive advocacy. One
of the things that the American Diabetes Association does is
give voice to the millions of people living with diabetes.

There is still a lot of discrimination that happens. So
we fought for eleven thousand people last year and one
cases of discrimination for them, legal court cases, yes, and
what does that discrimination look like? All kinds of things.
One of the biggest ones that we just recently one
was for truck drivers CEDL drivers not being able to

drive because of diabetes. That's straight out discrimination. We fought
that and and it was a long battle and we won.
One that breaks my heart is young children in school.
Many children are asked to leave the classroom when they
have to test their blood sugar or get their insulin,
many of them because there are not nurses in the schools.

Their ability to go on field trips, their ability to
play athletics, all of these things, they're being discriminated and
so we fight on their behalf. So advocacy is a
huge piece of what we're doing. And then the the
last is just continue to drive the healthcare and educational
knowledge to empower people to take control of their lives,

of their management of their disease, because at the end
of the day, we want everybody to be able to
thrive while living with this disease. So beautifully said, thank you.
Is there anything else you wanted to make sure you
got to say people are listening to the story. You
don't have to, but i just want to open the
door in case that. I'm just happy to be here
and learn so much today. I've learned a lot and

met a lot of great people. So it's been an
interesting experience in a very very learning experience for me.
I agree. I think you all you all share some threats, right,
You've got this family story that's prompted you saved your
life in each of your cases in some way. Your
talent source through your music. We didn't get too much
into that, but you've got some songs live like you're
gonna die right and and being humble and kind, and

we have felt humility and kindness from all of you
on this stage. I love the transition you've made, Tracy,
from the business world into this nonprofit world talking about
using skills for good. You've done it for saying this club,
You've done it for Exxon. Now you're doing it for
the fight against diabetes. So thank you and Lark again.
I bring it back to south By Southwest and this
whole idea of what the power is even for if

you're not gonna do something good with it. So thank
you for doing something good with our mobile phones coming,
I want to thank all my guests. We've got lots
of research and we want to share all that with you.
There's a post on twenty three and these blog. When

this episode goes up, it's gonna have a lot of links.
Please make sure to subscribe to spit. We've got great
interviews from Mike Shinodah talking about mental health, to Nikki
six on what it takes to be the addiction, to
Rita Wilson on breast cancer. The conversations are always fun
and intriguing, as you have now witnessed. I'm Baritune Day Thurston.
Thanks so much for listening. Thank you. Before we leave,

I'm excited to announce that twenty three and Me has
just launched a new Type two diabetes report that indicates
if you're at an increased likelihood to develop the condition
based on your genetics. With one in three Americans having
diabetes and of us not even knowing if we're pre diabetic,
this report could have a meaningful impact on our lives.

I want to dig in more on today's topics and guests.
Check our show notes and if you enjoyed the episode,
share it with a friend, all your friends, and be
sure to leave a review. If you want more surprising
stories about how we're all related, search and follow Spit
on iHeart Radio or subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.
Spit is an i Heeart radio podcast with twenty three

in me. I'm Baritone Day Thurston. You can find out
more about me at Barraitune day dot com or on
social media wherever Barraitune Days are found.
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