Diabetes Is NOT A Choice

I recently received from a coworker, an appeal sent to her from the American Diabetes Association*, to get involved in making the public aware that “Diabetes is NOT a Choice.” This appeal came as a result of the following statement made by the White House Office of Management and Budget:

Last Friday we read with dismay the statement of Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, when asked about insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions:

“The question is, who is responsible for your ordinary healthcare? You or somebody else? That doesn’t mean we should take care of the person who sits at home, eats poorly and gets diabetes. Is that the same thing as Jimmy Kimmel’s kid? I don’t think that it is.”

This statement shows such ignorance. First, it doesn’t differentiate between diabetes types, the development of Type 1 having nothing to do with lifestyle. It also ignores a blaring fact that the increase in Type 2 diabetes has not come about by a lack of exercise (“sitting at home”), but rather at the heart of it, is the governments OWN dietary guidelines (“eats poorly”). Guidelines that can take top athletes and lead them directly to Type 2.  Like this life-long athlete with Type 2.  What went wrong?  He followed the dietary guidelines….that’s what went wrong!  (And now he risks his livelihood trying to educate the world about the harm that those guidelines have caused.)

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It is interesting that this statement comes from a government that subsidizes the production corn to make High Fructose Corn Syrup rather than subsidizing organic farming and grass fed, free range animal products. Our government is one of the primary players in our nation’s diabetes epidemic. Why does our government NOT require our nation’s insurance industry to provide preventative health education? As a diabetes educator, I can attest to the fact that most education programs fail due to lack of funding. These companies are not required to pay for education but they are required to pay for medications and amputations.

So, does that mean that people bear no personal responsibility? Sure they do!! But this thinking that those with diabetes are just gluttons and sloths will do nothing to solve the problem. It is ignorant and insulting. In order to keep my blood sugar regulated, I have to eat right, cutting out nearly all the foods that Americans love, foods that I loved.  That’s right!  I don’t eat fast food, pizza, bread, pasta, desserts, and even healthy whole foods like potatoes.  I have to exercise intensely. I have to sleep right and keep my stress levels down. And with all of that, I’m still diabetic, although one that is very well controlled.

I didn’t make a choice about diabetes. In my younger years, I was an aerobics instructor and ate the low fat diet I was told to (following up my workouts with a bagel.) I typically worked out every morning and every evening. I was fit and ate the recommended 9-11 SERVINGS of bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, and VERY LITTLE meat or eggs and the most sparing use of fat I could get away with. However, during that time, I started to see the first signs of diabetes, although I didn’t recognize them as such. So please don’t tell me that my diabetes resulted from my sitting at home, I was extremely active. And if I was eating poorly, it was YOUR diabetic-inducing food pyramid that was responsible for that!

So yes, American government, you should have to pay for the results of the massive nutritional experiment that you have conducted on the unsuspecting American public for the past 40 years. And if you want to reverse the situation, INCREASING funds for nutrition research and education is the answer, NOT cutting funds.

Let me clarify that this post is not a political statement.  To be honest, I don’t care what political party the person who made ignorant statement belongs to.  This website is for education and takes no political sides.  The bottom line is, our government has played a huge role in our nation’s health crisis and needs to take responsibility now by working to reverse their decades long bad advice.  (Unfortunately, that is going to cost some money!)

To be honest, I’m scared for what is about to come for the American public if this type of ignorance abounds in those who are in charge of the future of our healthcare.  It doesn’t surprise me that our leaders who are so calloused to the needs of women, minorities and the elderly now have cast off those with one of the most stereotyped disorders of our time.

*I’m not going to address either here, my feelings on how the ADA has contributed to the worsening of diabetes with their dietary advice either.  I think I’ve made myself pretty vocal on that recently, lol!

Wishing you health and happiness!