Obama Declares November National Diabetes Month on Halloween

A presidential memo labeling next month as a time for increased awareness of the disease is at odds with the (misguided) link between diabetes and sugary treats.

National Journal
Marina Koren
Oct. 31, 2013, 11:12 a.m.

Al­though the idea that eat­ing too much sug­ar can dir­ectly cause dia­betes is a myth, the as­so­ci­ation between sweets and the dis­ease af­fect­ing more than 25 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans is fixed in cul­tur­al hu­mor. Spe­cific­ally, the con­nec­tion between sug­ary treats and Type 2 dia­betes, which can be triggered in part by life­style factors, such as be­ing over­weight as a res­ult of a poor diet.

So, it’s un­sur­pris­ing that an an­nounce­ment on the day of Hal­loween des­ig­nat­ing Novem­ber as Na­tion­al Dia­betes Month may draw some laughs.

Pres­id­ent Obama wrote in a pro­clam­a­tion Thursday af­ter­noon, “With dia­betes rank­ing among the lead­ing causes of death in the United States, my ad­min­is­tra­tion is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing Amer­ic­ans liv­ing with dia­betes, in­vest­ing in prom­ising sci­entif­ic re­search, ad­van­cing work to­ward im­proved treat­ment and care, and bol­ster­ing pre­ven­tion ef­forts.”

Half of all Amer­ic­an adults will con­sume candy on Hal­loween this year, USA Today re­ports. So will al­most every child in the na­tion. Oc­to­ber is per­en­ni­ally the biggest month for glob­al trade in con­fec­tions and chocol­ate. The Na­tion­al Con­fec­tion­ers As­so­ci­ation pre­dicts that Amer­ic­ans will shell out $2.4 bil­lion for Hal­loween treats this year. Even at the height of the fin­an­cial crisis in 2008, Mar­ket­Watch re­ports, candy sales did not waver.

Gor­ging on candy one day out of the year will boost your in­sulin levels tem­por­ar­ily, giv­ing you a surge of en­ergy for about two hours. By no means will it cause dia­betes. But a reg­u­lar diet high in cal­or­ies from any source of food con­trib­utes to weight gain, one of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 dia­betes. This con­nec­tion is usu­ally why many people mis­takenly think get­ting hopped up on sug­ar too much, too of­ten could lead to de­vel­op­ing dia­betes. But there is one shred of truth there. Re­search has shown that there is a link between drink­ing sug­ary drinks, such as soda, fruit punch, and sweetened teas, and Type 2 dia­betes.

Obama’s an­nounce­ment in­cluded a shout-out to the first lady’s Let’s Move! ini­ti­at­ive, which aims to teach kids about healthy food op­tions. Something tells us they won’t be listen­ing to­night.

What We're Following See More »
Biden to Guest on ‘Law and Order: SVU’
8 minutes ago

"Vice President Joe Biden will appear in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit that will mention the backlog of untested rape kits in many cities, as well as efforts to end violence against women—an issue close to Biden, who authored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994." He'll be in New York to tape the episode today.

Clinton Heading to the Rust Belt
28 minutes ago

"Clinton's first order of business after the Democratic convention is a bus trip through the electoral battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Ohio, the opening move in a strategy to defend her party's grip on states President Barack Obama won and to brand her opponent as unfit to be president. It shows a campaign eager to close off a likely effort by Donald Trump, her Republican opponent, to build an Electoral College majority by winning working-class, white voters in the Rust Belt and other slowly diversifying states."

FBI Probing Hack at DCCC
37 minutes ago

"The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that may be related to an earlier hack at the Democratic National Committee." The intrusion "may have been intended to gather information about donors, rather than to steal money."

Will Romney Endorse the Libertarian Ticket?
3 hours ago

"Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson told CNN Thursday that Mitt Romney was considering endorsing him for president this fall." He said the two had recently spoken. Johnson's running mate, Bill Weld, agreed that they have a good chance of winning the endorsement, especially if they meet the 15% polling threshold for participating in the presidential debates.

Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
11 hours ago

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."