Post 1 by Lucy Allen
Obesity and Healthy Living. Where on earth do you begin. Much like the topic itself, my collection of articles for this topic started quite broadly but managed to slowly focus in on a particular and quite personal area of interest, Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
I’ve always found the misconceptions of ‘health’ and what constitutes health very interesting.
The article ‘Skinny and 54 Kilograms, but with the Health Hallmarks of Obesity’ is written by Gina Kolata, an author at The NewYork Times. As a graduate molecular biologist from M.I.T as well as having a masters degree in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, Kolata has won many awards for her work in the medical profession. Having written numerous amounts of times about Obesity, weight, health and wellbeing with most of these published in the NewYork Times Kolata’s article is a reliable and trustworthy source.
This factual article follows the story of Claire Walker Johnson, telling her story and challenging the assumption that skinny people are healthy. Backed up by statistics and commentary from doctors and other professionals on the issue, this article is persuasive and evocative, making us reassess this common misconception. The argument is not particularly marginal yet not commonly known to many people, presenting a new point of view and in doing so challenging societies own views and opinions.
The idea that thin isn’t always healthy is realised tragically in the prevalence of eating disorders in our society. Rania Spooner a Health Reporter at The Age explores this in her article, ‘Orthorexia Nervosa: Do You Have an Unhealthy Obsession with Health?’. The article discusses how obsession with being healthy can often lead to an ‘unhealthy obsession with eating healthy’. The disease sees sufferers restricting their food intake to dangerous levels. They often undertaking strict diets such as paleo, organic and in some cases the FODMAP diet, developed for sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Having written many articles on Health throughout her time as a reporter alongside the research used to back up her claim this article provides and informative and trusted read.
Orthorexia refers to a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods that they believe to be harmful.
This unbiased articles cites the findings and research of many professionals such as Dr Simon Knowles, a researcher at Swinburne University. Knowles blames the ‘fitspo’ and ‘fitsporation’ obsession that has taken over society, highlighting it as a key link in the increase of sufferers of orthorexia. Whilst ‘orthorexia’ isn’t a recoginsed term and diagnosed eating disorder as yet, Spooner writes that is only a matter of time before it is, a position held by many professionals in relation to Orthorexia Nervosa. This is an example of an extremely informative, well researched and concise article that also offers practical advice on symptoms and treatment of the disease.
Another eating disorder that seems to be less recognised is ‘Diabulimia’. The disease sees Diabetics purposely restrict their insulin and bingeing on food. This results in high blood sugar levels and eventual weight loss. Much like Orthorexia this disorder isn’t yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a diagnosis despite effecting many people worldwide. The article ‘Diabulimia Signals Trouble in Type 1 Diabetes’ is written by Lorraine Platka-Bird, a writer for Medscape and qualified dietitian and nutritionist. The issue of ‘Diabulimia’ is approached by Platka-Bird from a non-biased yet emotive position, using the story of an individual to illustrate the damage the disorder can have.
Diabulimia refers to an eating disorder in which people with Type 1 diabetes deliberately give themselves less insulin than they need, for the purpose of weight loss.
As a regular contributor for Medscape and having studied, taught and published research into nutrition Platka-Bird was granted one of the most prestigious teaching awards offered in the State university system. Her expertise is present throughout the article in the clearly articulated breakdown of how this eating disorder materialises, treatment options and effects it can have both physically and mentally on the sufferer. As a type 1 Diabetic I find this article quite distressing to read, understanding the ways in which these individuals abuse their bodies and health in the name of weight loss. It is encouraging however to come across such a well researched and knowlegable article around the subject of Type 1 Diabetes.
Being a Type 1 Diabetic from the age of nine I’ve grown up with the disease, allowing me to take control from the very beginning and live an independent life. I try not to let Diabetes rule my day to day life and I particularly love chatting to people about it, to educate them in the disease. A common question I get is, ‘So did you get Diabetes because you ate to much sugar?’ or ‘What really? But you’re not fat?’. Common misconceptions around Type 1 Diabetes come down to a lack of understanding between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
Madeline Milzark, a fellow Type 1 Diabetic recently took to Facebook to share what it’s like living with Type 1 Diabetes, revealing many of the realities that come with this. Caroline Parkinson’s BBC article ‘Diabetes is no Laughing Matter, Say Young Sufferers’ is written based on Madeline’s post, calling for a better understanding of Type 1 Diabetes. Whilst not suffering from the disease herself, Parkinson’s article highlights some of the greatest misconceptions and lack of understanding in the difference between Type 1 and Type 2, going into detail differentiating the two diseases and resonating with me deeply. She calls for an end to the trivialisation of the disease, quoting Madeleine in her statement that ‘Diabetes isn’t your piece of cake, or that super-sized McDonald’s meal with extra fries or anything you see coated with sugar’.
Madeline’s original Facebook post, written to bring awareness to Type 1 Diabetes. (Milzark, 2016)
This article is populated with the opinions of other Type 1 Diabetics on the matter, all supporting Madeline’s post and promoting a better understanding and acceptance. The article is very factual, listing symptoms and facts about the prevalence of Type 1 Diabetes as well as some general information. I feel strongly about the message of this article through Parkinson’s writing as she educates, informs and humanises a disease that is often so misunderstood. It is clear that the key to greater understanding is through better education, “People think you have to be overweight and over 50, but that’s simply not the case. There needs to be more public education”.
Despite my personal desire and that of others to better understand and further distinguish Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, a recent study done by researchers at the University at Buffalo, New York has actually found that Type 1 Diabetics may benefit from some of the drugs used to treat Type 2 Diabetics. The article ‘Drug Developed for Type 2 Diabetes Helps Control Type 1 Diabetes‘ is written by Ellen Goldbaum, News content manager of Medicine for the University at Buffalo with a BA in political science from Barnard college. The article is based upon findings of a study printed in the Journal of Clinical Endocronology and Metabolism that reports that ‘patients with Type 1 diabetes saw improved blood glucose control with a “triple therapy” that included insulin, Liraglutide and Dapagliflozin’.
Motivated by this new-found evidence, this factual article delves into the process and finding of this study, even highlighting problematic areas such as the development of ketoacidosis in two test subjects. Despite some negative reactions, Goldbaum states that this response sheds potential light on future treatment of ketoacidocis. It is clear that the author views this quite marginal finding as a positive discovery, despite the negative experience of some test subjects. Whilst I agree that the potential impact using these treatments could have on Type 1 Diabetics I believe more research needs to be undertaken to convince me fully of it’s longevity.
As my journey into health became more personal I am increasingly motivated to know more. I’d like to explore the assumptions surrounding Type 1 and 2 Diabetes and what it means to be ‘healthy’ further. With new findings and researching being published almost daily I see great potential in persuing these points of interest.
P.s Just in case you were wondering, eating too much sugar as a kid didn’t give me Type 1 Diabetes…nobody knows what did #spooky
Goldbaum, E., 2016, ‘Drug Developed for Type 2 Diabetes Helps Control Type 1 Diabetes’, The University at Buffalo: The State University of New York. <http://www.buffalo.edu/ubreporter/stories/2016/08/dandona-diabetes-drugs.html>
Kolata, G., 2016, ‘Skinny and 54 Kilograms, but with the Health Hallmarks of Obesity’, The New York Times, <http://smh.com.au/national/health/skinny-and-54-kilograms-but-with-the-health-hallmarks-of-obesity-20160726-gqefpg.html>
Morales, M., 2016, ‘Ice-blocks In Space’, Pinterest, viewed 10th of August 2016, <https://au.pinterest.com/pin/540502392762959372/>
Milzard, M., 2016, ‘Facebook Post’, Facebook, viewed 16th of August 2016, <https://www.facebook.com/madeline.milzark/posts/1279186718759710>
Parkinson, C., 2016, ‘Diabetes is no Laughing Matter, Say Young Sufferers’, BBC News, <http://www.bbc.com/news/health-36924362>
Platka-Bird, L., 2016, ‘Diabulimia Signals Trouble in Type 1 Diabetes’, Medscape, <www.medscape.com/viewarticle/857221_print>
Spooner, R., 2016, ‘Orthorexia Nervosa: Do You Have an Un-health Obsession With Food?’, The Sydney Morning Herald, <http://www.smh.com.au/action/printArticle?id=1011628438>