Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) – get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?
One of the most obnoxious things about living with diabetes is the constant barrage of inaccurate and sensationalized media coverage surrounding the disease. From TV news stories attempting to summarize a medical study in 30 seconds, to magazine features offering tips to reverse diabetes, much of the coverage harms more than it helps. Rather than educating the public about diabetes, the media tends to reinforce incorrect and harmful stereotypes. Sadly, these stereotypes are what most people know about diabetes. (If I had a nickel for everyone who told me I look too healthy to have the disease or questioned if I missed eating sweets, I would be a rich woman.)
So, I’d like to petition the media to be more thoughtful in their coverage of diabetes. I’d like to ask them to take the time to explain what type 1 and 2 really mean, and avoid relying on stereotypes for either. I’d like to challenge them to think about the millions of people who live with the condition day in and day out, and how careless reporting may negatively impact them. I’d like to push them to proactively educate the public and use their influence to raise awareness about diabetes.
I know I’m not the first one to make this plea and I certainly won’t be the last. Until the media consistently covers diabetes in an accurate and informative way, you can bet that we, the undersigned, will keep pleading.