A Letter to Kim Lyons, Who is at TCOYD today, in Des Moines, IA

Kim Lyons was on WHO-TV, Channel 13, Des Moines, IA, today… And she was sharing some exercises with people to help relieve the pain of Neuropathy, and went on to simply address “Diabetes” in general terms, as a “complication of Obesity.” I am very appalled that this would be said to people on tv, or even at some seminar where they are supposed to get help and encouragement with their disease… So I wrote an e-mail to her. Here it is:

First off, I want to say thank you and how much I appreciate that you are taking some personal time to really help others with this challenging disease meet some personal goals and challenges, and learn more about how to reach them. Diabetes, as you may realize, is one of those diseases that make us face our own selves, whatever issues we may had been avoiding, and our own mortalities.

I just wanted to take a moment to simply point out a few things in how the whole segment was addressed, and portrayed to others.

  • Diabetes is NOT a complication of obesity. Yes, I repeat: Diabetes is NOT a complication of obesity. Simply put, if it were, ALL obese people in our world would have Diabetes, but only a small percentage of all obese people go on to develop Diabetes. MOST obese people will go on to live their lives, and will NEVER develop Diabetes. (http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/14046739.php; http://diabetes.about.com/b/2007/08/29/why-arent-all-obese-people-diabetic.htm) The problem with Diabetes is an issue with hormones, adinopectin in the fat, and issues with leptin and insulin. These are GENETIC issues... Which we, as people, cannot control, and which can be triggered by a huge number of things (obesity being only one of them), even including medications, pesticides (like Agent Orange) and other illnesses. To add more to the issue, when you state things like "Diabetes is a complication of Obesity," you create more stigma for those who were NEVER overweight and went on to develop Type 2 Diabetes, anyway! (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24716880/; http://www.tudiabetes.org/group/thintype2diabetics) And for those who developed Type 1 Diabetes, instead, which is an autoimmune way of getting Diabetes. Every day, many, many children with Diabetes get bullied in school because the media wrongly portrays Diabetes as being all caused by obesity.
  • Diabetes is not just a "general" concept, either. Diabetes has a HUGE host of Types, and variables. Diabetes can affect EVERYONE, from children, teenagers, and those in their golden years. We ALL develop complications, and many of us (such as Type 1) Diabetics CANNOT and WILL NOT have their symptoms magically 'disappear' from simply watching one's diet, and exercising. So, even though we ALL can benefit from the wonderful exercises you will share to help deal with the pain of neuropathy, or simply to get fit, not all of us are in the same place. Not all of us will be able to shed blood pressure medications, or insulin.
Please, please... if you want to help our community, start by addressing ALL people that have Diabetes and that can be affected gravely by this disease, by simply offering the hope of a better sense of wellness... Do not just focus on those who may need to lose a few pounds. Our disease is challenging enough already, and we simply don't need the stigma from society that we somehow "caused our disease for being fat and lazy," or that we could simply magically cure ourselves if we did all the "right" things.


Lizmari M. Collazo
Type 2 Diabetic

Well stated, Lizmari. :slight_smile: I would have loved to attend that seminar in Des Moines, but alas…work prevented it! Maybe next time!

Make that 3 who agree. Great letter. Glad to see you here! :slight_smile:

Thanks Lizmari for your response to this. You are the best.


I remember a jump rope for heart flyer that my son brought home in 7, with big block letters saying that diabetes is caused by obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. I remember being really angry that the heart and stroke foundation would portray diabetes to school kids, in this way.

Today, the Ontario area of their website indicates:

•28% of Ontario kids are overweight or obese
•26% of Canadian kids are overweight or obese
•Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past 25 years
•Only 20% of Canadian children receive daily physical activity education in school
•50% of children and youth aged 5 to 17 aren’t active enough for optimal growth and development
•7 out of 10 children aged 4 to 8 don’t eat the recommended daily intake of vegetables and fruit

But they do seem to have dropped diabetes aspect. While I remember being angry, I wasn`t the one that wrote and got them to think about their diabetes comments. I am glad that you took to time to put together your email and to send it off. If someone is educated enough to share exercise plans to relieve neuropathy that same someone should also be educated enough to have a better understanding of diabetes.


Well said x

Liz well stated (From a Type 1 here)

Good for you, Lizmari!

I have to laugh, my kids will hear things on TV about diabetes and yell out, No it’s not! Guess I’m educating them well, or they’re actually paying attention to me talking on occasion. I’m curious to know if you get a response!

Good for you, but you should have included us larger type 2’s among those who are stigmatized by statements like this.

I am sorry, Emmy. I thought I did, with the whole point of the letter being we didn’t do this to ourselves by simply being “fat and lazy,” but because of our genetics. I’ll try to be more obvious next time.

Bravo Lizmari - you worded it beautifully!

Well said!
It gets old…having to say this kind of stuff over and over to people, but it’s the only way, imo, to educate. Kudos to you for sending this email. I hope Ms. Lyons is open to becoming more informed.

Awesome letter. Let us know if you get a reply.

Wonderful! I think we all need to make a point of correcting these ridiculous overgeneralizations every time we see them, till the media gets the message.

Well said.

Now that talking the right way. Did she answer you back. I am betting not. My daughter still does not believe me when I tell her that my being fat did not cause diabetes.

Nope… she never replied. :slight_smile: