Letters to the Editor

Not a choice

February 3, 2010


To the editor:

Jon Stewart, (“A tidal wave of diabetes,” Journal-World, Jan. 31) informs us that this diabetes “epidemic is born largely out of choices people make.”

Jason Eberhart-Phillips says that diabetics are “going to be a big hole on our economy.” The cost of our care will interfere with improving education and the quality of life. He thinks this is a preventable problem.

Do your homework. My two brothers and I have diabetes, not from stuffing our faces with fatty fast foods, but from my mother, who passed on the propensity for that disease. Are you saying that we contracted it on purpose? That we must now “will” it away in a “patient, heal thyself” fashion? That we are not worth keeping alive because we don’t pull our own weight financially?

When I was diagnosed eight years ago, I lost 43 pounds. My diabetes is under control. And MY income pays for it! I paid into Social Security for the 30 years I worked full time. I continue to pay a hefty monthly amount for Medicare and around $4,000 a year for supplemental health insurance.

I’m a drain on our economy? If you pay attention to city commission, county commission, school board and state Legislature spending (including raises — in THIS economy?), it should become obvious that those of us trying to live on a pittance retirement pension from Kansas University and Social Security are offended. If another useless commission is created to determine which diseases may be treated, then you have solved the problem of health insurance. We won’t need any.


anon1958 8 years, 3 months ago

You and your brother are fortunate to have your diabetes under control and I wish you the best of luck. However, there is no denying and it is completely unrelated to the genetic inheritance of your family that obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes and other diseases.

For the most part, the logic of your post, its premises and conclusions are terribly flawed.

However, the decision of the Journal World to publish your letter, fan the flames of ignorance and sow confusion among the not especially bright populist right wingers of this state is nothing less than shameful.

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

anon - who pee'd in your coffee this morning.

There are 6 other factors for diabetes besides weight, but people like you only focus on that one, for someone to blame. Get over it.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 3 months ago

Like most medical issues, this disease's contributors are genetics and lifestyle. People need to get a grip and settle down. There are other lifestyle conditions coming, kids who need hand and arm surgery in their 30's because of computer games and other applications and many others who drive around with the sound system from Royals' Stadium in the back of their car will need hearing aids decades earlier than is expected. We all pay for our collective choices, in taxes and in health care costs. Clearly, thinking some of these issues through before they get out of hand is worthwhile.

labmonkey 8 years, 3 months ago

So the increase in Type II diabetes and the population that have become obese is just a coincidence.

I have relatives and in-laws who were diagnosed withType II diabetes well into adulthood....because they were overweight (while others have been told to change their ways because they were borderline Type II). Some lost weight and were able to control it by diet and keeping active alone (one will turn 90 this year), others have refused to change their lifestyle and will probably die in their early 60's. The latter have insurance, but have paid dearly.

Yes, genetics has much to do with diabetes (in Type I, it is everything), but a healthy lifestyle can prevent the onset of Type II and can even be used to control it.

Mariposa 8 years, 3 months ago

Ms. Paris, I don't believe that Jon Stewart meant to insult you or say anything about your family and your family decisions. If I were to take this issue personally I could say that at the end of the day, I often feel so tired all I want is a shower and something that I can hold in one hand and eat while reading and doing homework with the other. I convince myself that yes, that Krispy Creme donut would give me the energy to just zip though that math. So, do I get A's in math? Um-

bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

Anon5150 wrote: However, the decision of the Journal World to publish your letter, fan the flames of ignorance and sow confusion among the not especially bright populist right wingers of this state is nothing less than shameful.

---please dial: 1-800-FOILHAT, your current model is apparently out of date. Halliburton has a new model for loons like you.

implies that conservatives are scientifically illiterate, nothing could be further from the truth.

and the attempt to inject a liberal vs conservative dialectic is nothing less than shameful.

now, the first part of Anon5150's post is right: obesity causes one heckuva lot of diabetes, then there's lack of exercise.

now we have far too many simple carbs in our diet like sugar, honey, but especially HFCS.

The LTE writer is only wright in respect to type I diabetes, and I'm wondering what she did at KU, because she is either ignorant of or purposely conflating all forms of diabetes.

as to why the LJWorld printed this, well I suspect [lol] it had nothing to do with some massive conservative conspiracy!

Cait McKnelly 8 years, 3 months ago

"The LTE writer is only wright in respect to type I diabetes..." (sic) This is far from true. There is a heavy genetic component in Type II diabetes. I have two grandmothers that had it, my mother and one of her sisters had it and I and two of my sisters have it. I also have relatives in that genetic part of my family that have (had) Type I. Both of my grandmothers and my mother died from complications of the disease. For years Type II diabetes was little understood and I believe the "rise" in cases has much to do with better diagnosis and treatment. Although obesity has a negative impact on the disease, to say that obesity causes it is far from true. Yes, fat heightens insulin resistance. So does being pregnant. But unless one has the propensity for the disease, neither is going to cause it.

Jimo 8 years, 3 months ago

That the sudden upsurge in diabetes is "largely out of choices people make” is indisputable. Ms. Paris' letter pointing out that diabetes is not 100% of time the result of personal choices does not in the least undermine the qualifier "largely" (nor provide any alternative theory to this "epidemic").

Had the letter adopted an educational tone it might have been a useful caveat. Instead, Ms. Paris' merely reveals herself to be an ass (with diabetes).

Jon Stewart 8 years, 3 months ago

No disrespect intended. Christine Metz did an excellent job of conveying the highlights of a very complicated condition. To present comprehensively in a newspaper article would be nearly impossible.

At the risk of oversimplifying, this much is clear: there is a very strong link between behaviors such as diet and exercise with prevention or management of all forms of this disease. But diabetics are not alone. Good nutrition and regular exercise go a long way toward warding off hypertension, depression and anxiety, all of which are among the most frequent diagnoses in our medical clinic.

Of course, if you’re anything like me, it is both good and bad news that diet and exercise are all up to me.

George Lippencott 8 years, 3 months ago

cait48 (Anonymous) says… and others

Type II is related to weight. Weight is related to??? Some people are more genetically prone to gain weight then others. Could there be factors more basic then weight that factor into the equation as has been suggested by several writers.

Exercise is great. Of course if you are unable to exercise because of some other condition then it will not work for you. There is a correlation between Type II and other conditions although I do not believe it is direct. It is also statistically more apparent in the less affluent for some reason.

You know that President Clinton presumptively determined (based on statistics) that exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam (couple million troops) (Dioxin) contributes to Type II diabetes. I believe that the ADA agrees with that determination at least in part.

Maybe this is not simple???

George Lippencott 8 years, 3 months ago

Jimo (Anonymous) says…

You know somebody should send you to charm school!!!

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