Friday, September 21, 2007

Does this bother you?

I'm paraphrasing here, but read this statement from a radio ad and see what you think:

" eating school lunches leading them down the path to obesity and diabetes"

Does that statement bother anyone else?

It is a radio ad for Boar's Head turkey. I'm in the car a lot and I hear this ad every day, sometimes twice a day.

At first I tried to ignore it, but after hearing it so many times, it really started getting to me.

I am all for eating healthy and I believe an overhaul needs to be done to school lunch menus. But, this ad seems to perpetuate the myth that my son has diabetes because of the way he ate, or that all people that are overweight have type 2 diabetes.

Kids may become overweight from what they eat. But, there is no proof they will develop either type 1 or type 2 diabetes because of what they eat.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. And, just because you are obese doesn't mean you will develop type 2 diabetes either. There are many more factors that attribute to the disease, some of them genetic.

Anyway, just had to vent my frustrations here. I think it would be a good idea to pull the ad. My kid has enough stereotypes hanging over his head because of this disease. He doesn't need them perpetuated by a national ad campaign.

If it bothers you like it does me you can contact Boar's Head and let them know by calling: 1-888-884-2627. I can't find an email address. If any of you do, let me know what it is.


Anonymous said...

My husband has type 2 diabetes and my son is borderline. And while there are genetic factors, it doesn't help that both of them are overweight. We're working on eating better as a family. And if I can play a role by packing healthier lunches, that's great. Boar's Head did the same thing last year with their AHA spots and I have to say, eating AHA certified products helped with my cholesterol. If Boar's Head's ads make a few people think about eating better, I think it's great. Maybe they shouldn't have just said diabetes and been more specific, but there is a connection between Type 2 and obesity. It's in the news all the time.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way - it's so frustrating to hear. I have a 7-year old with Type-1 and the stereotype really upsets me. As you said, these kids have to deal with enough issues, let alone be subject to these ridiculous statements. I really wish that media reps. would begin to specify the type of diabetes that they are referring to rather then clump them together as if they were one disease.

Also, in backing your statement - what about the fact that eating too much lunch meat is bad for blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.? to call :)

Penny Ratzlaff said...


While there is a connection between Type 2 and obesity, obesity in and of itself does not cause Type 2 diabetes. It may contribute to it, but it does not cause it.

I'm all for education. I just don't understand why they have to put diabetes in the mix at all. How about heart disease and stroke? Aren't people who feed their kids junk setting them up for that just as much as anything else?

And, my child eats very healthy, but he got diabetes anyway. Yes, it's Type 1, but still, enough people think my son got this stupid disease from eating too much sugar already. I don't need Boar's Head reinforcing that myth.

I am not asking anyone to campaign against Boar's Head. I don't have a problem with that company or what they are trying to do. I just think they need to be a little clearer with what they are trying to say.



bingsy said...

Advertising is always aimed at a population that the company thinks may be swayed to buy their products. It rarely gives the whole picture, and furthermore, frequently perpetuates stereotypes. That is why I despise commercials and advertisements.

I think Boar's Head sees a target audience in populations of people that are at a high risk of Type 2 diabetes. Hispanic as well as blacks have higher rates of it, and anyone that has anyone in their family with type 2 diabetes will be aware of how devastating it can be. Boar's Head is capitalizing on all the headlines and articles linking fast food and poor eating habits to obesity and diabetes. They are thinking these people may go for a product that may help their child not be a part of that - hence the school lunch setting.

Just my two cents - I think most people that are well read know that when you hear obesity and diabetes, the diabetes is type 2. I don't think people with type 2 diabetes should be judged or assumed to be obese, though. I know there are other factors. I just think that Boar's Head is banking on the fact that people with diabetes and obesity in their family might try eating their product.

Boar's Head does have some lower fat lower sodium meats, but even their lower sodium is not that low. I am not familiar with their AHA certified products. I do know it is probably better than fast food.

I know my school's cafeteria is trying to improve, but public school cafeterias used to be horrible when it came to nutrition. Now they really try to keep it low fat and healthy. I know the students complain because their fries are limp. They are that way because the cafeteria cannot fry them anymore.

It's really a complicated thing if you think about it. Like I said, that is what ads do. They take a complex subject and simplify it in an unfair way.

I don't think type 1 diabetics are victims of stereotypes of being obese. I think it is mostly common knowledge that there is a difference between the two. HOwever, the people I surround myself are smart cookies, so I may be disallusioned.

Penny Ratzlaff said...


No one stereotypes Riley as having D because he's obese. Because, well, he weighs 42 pounds.

But, you wouldn't believe the number of people who have asked if he got it because he ate too much sugar. Or the one I get the most is, "Will he outgrow it?" Oh, how I wish he would.

Of course, it's not the questions that bother me. Questions allow me to try and educate them. What bothers me is the assumptions that people make. They just assume that because their great-uncle once removed has Type 2 they know all they need to know about Riley's disease.