This past weekend, Saturday Night Live’s cast mate, Colin Jost angered the diabetes community with his joke about McDonalds and diabetes in “Weekend Update.”
During the segment Colin said “McDonalds has announced it will be offering two new versions of the Big Mac – one for each type of diabetes.”
Colin’s joke bothers me because he unjustly presumes that diabetes is someone’s fault; if you eat too many Big Macs then you’re sure to get diabetes. Look, the general public already perceives diabetes as not a big deal, that it’s something that can be completely managed by lifestyle choices, or that individuals are at blame for causing their disease so we don’t need anymore help!
I have spent the past eleven years as a compassionate diabetes advocate at Divabetic (divabetic.org) and in less than 1 minute of air time Colin Jost managed to obliterate our good work.
His joke isn’t just hurtful, it’s also very harmful. Even the strongest person can be worn down by a negative stigma association with diabetes making it harder to take care of yourself and your diabetes health.
People with diabetes are often tasked not just with the burden of managing their diabetes but also educating the people around them about the condition. That can take an emotional toll. So can the sense of shame that comes from others’ misconceptions, or a person’s own feelings of guilt.
New research reports that people with type 1 experience more stigma than people with type 2. and parents of children with type 1 diabetes reported the most stigma of all, and stigma tended to increase with more intense or visible management.
The media can certainly play a role in changing these perceptions and help the general public’s lack of knowledge and/or understanding of diabetes and what causes it. At the very least news stories about diabetes could start by differentiating between type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
There’s no doubt that obesity related to a diet rich in fast foods is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes. Genetics also plays a role. But blood sugar can creep up with age, even in skinny people.
But by sharing more about the disease, the media can help people learn how to prevent the steep rise in its incidence.
For the record there are currently four major types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes. And scientists have identified several other diabetes subtypes beyond types 1 and 2. The most common of these is called latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), and it accounts for roughly 10 percent of people with diabetes, making it probably more widespread than type 1.
Diabetes is a complex disorder involving abnormal sugar metabolism. Doctors know that genetics plays a role in who gets the disease and who doesn’t get the disease but that this is just part of the picture. Diabetes is a problem of genetics and environment.
Even without a solid family history of diabetes, bad habits like not getting enough exercise or not eating properly can contribute just as much too getting diabetes as can your genes. There has been a vast increase in inactivity and the eating of processed, high sugar foods in society so that even people without a family history of diabetes can get the disease.
READ: One mother of child living with type 2 diabetes’ reaction to SNL’s joke: https://beyondtype1.org/snl-pisses-off-t1d-mama/
Don’t miss Diabetes Late Nite inspired by George Michael on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 6-7 PM, EST. Enjoy our first-ever Valentine’s Day Party featuring Chef Ward Alper aka ‘The Decadent Diabetic’, ‘Rich In Love‘ fashion blogger Doris Hobbs, the Charlie’s Angels of Outreach, Poet Lorraine Brooks and Mama Rose Marie
Learning to accept yourself for who you are is the most important step to self-love. Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to embrace the person you are.
You have beautiful qualities, both physical and emotional, that draw people to you. You don’t need to look or talk or act like anyone else. We all offer the world something different. That’s what makes it so beautiful.
Lest our team of experts show you how to embrace Valentine’s Day without feeling like you’re compromising your diabetes self-care. Don’t let diabetes dim your Dazzle!
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