« Wednesday Evening Commute - Roof Access | Main | Rock Creek Flowers »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Having a dad and sister with Type 1 diabetes (not preventable and not related to obesity), I get a little tired of the disease being used as a punch line in the anti-obesity and cycling smugness wars. Don't get me wrong, I'm as smug as they come, but not all fat people get diabetes, and not all diabetics are fat.

MM, You are not as smug as me....

Over 10 years ago my HBA1C was in the diabetic range (6.8). I lost 30 pounds, dramatically cut down on high glycemic foods and biked to work. Workng out twice a day, to and from work, keeps my sugar down. You might be tired of the disease being used as punch line, and Type II is a whole different ball game, but I can tell you first hand biking can play a roll in fighting Type II. My HBA1C now hovers around 6 I have taken zero meds since I was diagnosed, thanks in part to biking. The money I have saved in medical bills has probably paid for my bikes over the last 10 years.


Yes, cycling is healthy...also, the sky is blue and puppies are adorable. However, when we conflate "diabetic" with "fat" it creates a sort of stigma for diabetics..."haha, you have diabetes, you should go ride your bike, fatty." When public perception of diabetes is that it's a fat person's disease, it completely undermines efforts to find a cure, particularly those suffering from Type 1 for whom the disease can literally cost them life and limb and whose diet/exercise habits played no part in their illness.

Again, I like being smug about cycling and the positive benefits it has bestowed on my health and my wallet, but let's avoid these sorts of generalizations about diabetes that mischaracterize the nature of the disease and its treatment.

I posted a lengthy rebuttal earlier which seems to have disappeared into the ether, so suffice to say, if you click the link to the comment, you'll see that I specifically referred to Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately Wash didn't have a good way of showing that in pictoral form (I would have gone with a stock image of a doctor approaching a fat guy with a clipboard that clearly read "Type 2 diabetes," in cheesily large type, but it's not my blog).

Regardless, I work with a cyclist who was recently diagnosed with late-onset Type 1, so I'm well aware that diabetes isn't only a fat-man's disease, which again, is why I referred to Type 2.

The point of the joke was that the ads for the street smart campaign seem to imply that walking/biking are bad for your health (i.e. you will get run over) yet a sedentary lifestyle, facilitated by passive transportation, obviously has ill health effects as well, of which type 2 diabetes is one possibility. I/Wash could have gone with "heart attack" and captioned it "Cars don't come with Lipitor," but obviously not all heart attacks are the result of obesity either, so that would be no different.

The poster is not subtle nor precise. But it does touch on the very real fact that Type II diabetes rates have skyrocketed in the country over the past few decades. Even worse, it used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but not any longer. That's because so many kids are now developing Type II diabetes, in large part because of the skyrocketing childhood obesity rates.

I don't take any of this lightly since diabetes runs in my extended family (uncle, cousins). But I have to agree about the idea of referring to diabetes, even though nutrition also plays a major role in Type II cases.

As people like to say, Eat Better, Move More. The country can't afford to keep spending hundreds of billions a year to treat AVOIDABLE medical problems directly associated with poor nutrition and inactivity.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader