Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fired Up

I found the link to this article over at Candy At Midnight.

The article uses statements such as: "I'm more astonished at the parents who waddle down wide suburban streets, diabetic and obese..." and "Some of these overweight parents are so out of shape, they can barely huff their way through a four-block neighborhood before needing to head back home for their nightly insulin shot."

I am so sick and tired of all diabetics being painted with the same brush. And, I'm tired of people with diabetes being blamed for thier disease, be it Type 1 or Type 2.

Here is my response to the article. If you have time, I'd like to see your response as well.

Before you start spouting off about diabetes and obesity, you should get your facts straight.

First off all people that are overweight do not have diabetes. Secondly, all people with diabetes are not overweight. Yes, sometimes lifestyle factors enter into Type 2 diabetes. But, sometimes it does not.

I am in favor for getting rid of Halloween altogether if that's what you want. But, singling out certain people (ie: diabetics) to get your point across was both rude and ignorant.

Also, if you're going to write about a disease that is such an "epidemic" then you should get your facts straight.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 2 is what you are so stereotypically referring to in your article.

My son has Type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed when he was only 3 years old. He didn't eat too much sugar as a child nor has he ever been overweight. What happened is that his body turned against him and destroyed the insulin producing cells in his pancreas.

Because of this he pricks his finger an average of 12 times a day to test his sugar. He wears an insulin pump attached to him by a needle 24 hours a day seven days a week. He's only 5 years old. Neither he nor I did anything to cause this disease. Articles like yours perpetuates the myth that all people with diabetes are lazy sloths and are to blame for their disease.

When you paint all diabetics with the same obesity brush you are doing a disservice to my child and the millions of other adults and children that have to deal with Type 1 diabetes every day.


Amylia said...

preach on! I love your response and I HATE that there are so many ignorant people out there. Stuff like this happens all the time and it gets old. Very old.

I'll be responding, you can bet on it!

Lea said...

Penny, that was AWESOME!!! You said so perfectly.

Jillian said...

Yay Penny! There are so many contributing factors to type 2 diabetes, I am really glad that you pointed this out. So many of the problems with generalizing the word diabetes are that it can really point the finger and just cause so much more ignorance! This was great.

Naomi said...

Excellent, Penny! Many type 1s are diagnosed because they suddenly LOSE lots of weight (without ever being overweight). My son looked like a skeleton when he went into the hospital.

So many people hear complicated stories in little sound bites and don't take the time to get their facts straight. *sigh*

Danny said...

I feel your pain and frustration, and experience the same thing in regards to my type-1 diabetic son. But please, remember to breathe. There are lots of us who do understand. Also, please be patient. I'm sure I'm ignorant when it comes to other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (to cite one example), although I try not to broadcast my ignorance to everyone. When someone gently educates/corrects my misperceptions, I am grateful.

Most people will appreciate you educating them with the facts of type-1 diabetes. The rest aren't worth getting upset over.

Major Bedhead said...

I disagree, I think they are worth getting upset over.

I'm posting this response over at blogabetes, too. Here's what I left as a comment (which doesn't seem to appear anywhere on the website).

"Everything in moderation - Aristotle. A philosophy that can surely be applied to Halloween candy.

Your melodramatic column about the candy given out at Halloween screams about the massive rate of diabetes among adults and children. Yet what you fail to note is that the majority of children with diabetes have TYPE 1 diabetes, a vastly different disease than Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar or being overweight. Scientists and doctors aren't quite sure what causes it, but when children (babies, really) are being diagnosed as young as 6 months old, I think it's safe to say it's not because they were fed candy and junk food.

Your assertion that everyone who is overweight is also diabetic is also false. There are plenty of slender people out there who have type 2. Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle don't help matters, but you need to have the genetic predisposition to diabetes first.

Columns like yours, that scream "Fat = Diabetes" are gross misinformation. A short Google search would have led you to the ADA, JDRF or the Children With Diabetes website. Any of those sites would have told you the difference between, and the causes of, both diseases.

Columns like yours are the reason I have to explain, over and over again, that no, my daughter does not have diabetes because she drank too much soda/eat too much candy/lazed around the house. Her pancreas failed. It doesn't make insulin any more. She will not outgrow it and will need to be on insulin for the rest of her life.

Yell about the additives and corn syrup and artificial colourings in foods all you like. I'll happily yell along. But when you start yelling about diabetes, do some research and differentiate between the two. Those of us who have children who suffer from type 1 diabetes will thank you. Until then, expect more comments like this."

Penny said...


Thank you for responding too.


Thank you for the link so I could respond.


While I really focus on Type 1, I think educating about Type 2 is also a way to better educate about Type 1. Did that make any sense? I'm on cold medicine.


Riley actually lost weight when he was diagnosed also.


Yes, I am ignorant when it comes to other diseases and I'm a nurse. But, as a nurse, if I am going to care for someone with a disease I know nothing about I'm going to read up about it first. So, if this guy wants to write an article he needs to read up on the disease before he starts bashing people.


Bravo!! Brilliant response.

Naomi said...

Okay, and on a totally different subject Penny, you have to tell me how you do that cool slide show of your diabetes365 pictures on your blog.

Danny said...

Penny, I'm so sorry, I did not mean to imply that you were ignorant. I guess my point was that I need to take care of myself and my family, and getting too stressed out and upset only makes my life worse. I have, in fact, written a letter to the editor of a national magazine when an article made a link between obesity and diabetes without specifying type 1 or type 2, and was pleased that they chose to publish it. I just don't want the ignorance of others in regards to diabetes to add to the stress and frustration diabetes itself brings ... because, as you know, that's enough stress in itself.

In other words, take care of yourself. :-)

Penny said...


It's OK, I wasn't offended. Yes, we do need to take care of ourselves. I forget about that sometimes.


What slideshow are you talking about?

Naomi said...

Your diabetes365 slideshow.

I just started posting diabetes 365 pictures & would love to be able to post a slideshow on my blog.

Penny said...


I'm still not quite sure what you're talking about. If you're talking about the button in my sidebar you can get that by going to the discussions in the 365 group. But, those aren't my pictures in the button.

Naomi said...

Thanks, Penny. I'll give it a try.l

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