What’s Happy About Diabetes?

What's happy about #diabetes? #muni

A post shared by Christopher Snider (@iam_spartacus) on

I took this picture almost a week ago, and I still don’t know how I feel about it.

From a global perspective, all diabetes is a very serious issue. Lifestyle changes, including diet, can make an impact on some people’s life with diabetes. But for the people who, despite their best efforts, must succumb to genetics one way or another, is this advertisement supposed to motivate them? Is it even aimed at them? With such limited real estate to make a point, there’s hardly any room for fine print and clarifications.

One one hand, I understand the direct, sometimes shocking nature that’s required to get someone’s attention. Without their attention, how can you expect anyone to take action? But I fear that efforts like this do more to harm and reinforce stigma and stereotypes than inform and enlist new advocates in the fight to do whatever the ultimate call to action is.

Or, am I too close to this subject to have a fair take on things?

3 thoughts on “What’s Happy About Diabetes?

  1. I totally agree with you. I am constantly frustrated by how much blame these kinds of ads put on the individual rather than the structural causes of disease. This further conflates Diabetes type 1 and 2 and leads lots of people to mistakenly think type 1 is preventable, but it’s similarly misleading to think that type 2 is fully preventable. I’m not in favor of a soda ban per say, and there’s evidence that NYC subway ads aiming to reduce the number of sugary drinks people consumed did have positive impact. But we also need Public policies that change our very environments to encourage healthy eating and living–more parks, less food deserts, and less blame thanks very much!

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  2. Personally, I like it, but I hate big soda companies because I think that their product isn’t good for anyone. I think that there is an obesity epidemic in this country and that shock value is going to create change in people, then shock value is what we need. As someone with T1D, I can see how it perpetuates negative stereotypes, but I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong. Sugar doesn’t make people happy, and we all know there isn’t much that is great about diabetes, especially when it is left untreated, like it is in many Americans. Not the most positive ad, but it’s not the worst that I’ve ever seen about diabetes.
    *steps down from soap box*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree about stereotypes. I think that the statement about sugary drinks is misleading. There is no link between sugar consumption and developing diabetes; whoever says otherwise is having an attitude problem.

    There’s plenty of related misconceptions on the net; I’ve seen infographics screaming about things like, “John ate 48 candies out of 54, and what he has now? John has diabetes.” Others pull a similar stunt about the overweight folks. Aside from zero credibility, these sayings are full of attitude. Eating too many sweets has no bearing on whether or not this person will develop diabetes.

    Liked by 1 person

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