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Diabetes New Zealand have announced the results of a survey investigating perceptions and stigma around diabetes. The results show that most Kiwis with diabetes encounter negative attitudes that add to the stress of their condition.
“A shocking number of respondents reported that they have been blamed, judged or treated differently because they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes,” says Diabetes New Zealand CEO, Heather Verry.
One area of judgement people with diabetes commonly experience is comments on what they eat, with an astounding 68% of people with type 1 diabetes and 40% of those with type 2 being judged for their food choices. Some have even been left out of social events involving food or drink that other people think they shouldn’t have. It appears many people are not aware that a healthy diet for people with diabetes is similar to the healthy diet recommended for everyone, and can include some sweet foods. Or they don’t know that eating sugar is not the cause diabetes.
“There is a common myth that sugar intake causes type 1 diabetes, but this is simply not the case,” says Mrs Verry.
This is the first time that stigma around diabetes has been studied in New Zealand. The findings of the Diabetes NZ Stigma Survey of 824 members revealed remarkable similarity with Australian findings published previously by The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD).