This phrase, which happens to be the name of a new diabetes blog by Nic (welcome her here!), lodged squarely in my mind this morning as I read reaction to the latest NY Times article on diabetes (children and diets). WtF? After that hard-hitting series in this very same publication by N.R. Kleinfeld, we’ve suddenly got an experienced NYT health writer waving a dismissive hand at all the “hysterical rhetoric” about children and diabetes.
The writer, Harriet Brown, presents an argument against overpolicing unhealthy foods in our schools. Here’s what my insightful (blog) friend Violet has to say:
Part of the argument is that (policing foods) doesn’t work. The other part is that the “obesity epidemic” isn’t truly supported by science as far as kids are concerned, and that the discussions of kids getting type 2 in larger numbers are also not supported by enough reliable studies to be called an “epidemic.” There’s mention of an ADA presentation on the subject that claimed that a third of kids diagnosed with type 2 in the study were later proven to have type 1 instead. We’re taking all this too seriously, the writer seems to say. (She does, to her credit, have a clear understanding of
the relationship between lifestyle & the two types of diabetes.)
I was quite surprised to read these claims in the same
newspaper that’s been working … to highlight the issues of adult diabetes in New York. The
writer has contributed many articles to the NYT health section but is not,
as far as I know, a diabetes expert. Yet she’s made some rather sweeping
claims to the effect that our kids aren’t at particular risk for type 2;
we’re restricting their food at school because we’re obsessed with body
image as a culture.
On the other hand, her point that depriving kids of all pleasurable foods in the school setting is unlikely to be effective does resonate with me somewhat. The concept of moderation is lost entirely, and it seems logical that kids will not learn austere habits at school and then carry them through to home. They’ll just try to eat more yummy junk foods at home instead of at school. Some type of balanced approach to teach kids how to enjoy food without harming themselves seems necessary. But dimming the alarm bells on diabetes hardly seems like a good strategy for helping kids.
Bravo, Violet! I totally agree that the media tends to be “all over the map” on the diabetes issue.