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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

TV Chef Says She has Diabetes. Will Lifestyle Changes Come?

Published January 18, 2012 3:58 PM by Stacey Miller

Every once in a while stories in the entertainment sections of magazines and newspapers intersect with the health section.


Just last week, readers found out about the lush maternity ward at Lenox Hill Hospital where Beyonce and Jay-Z welcomed daughter, Blue Ivy.


NBC Today show viewers also saw Food Network star Paula Deen announce she has Type 2 diabetes.


The Southern chef — known for teaching viewers how to whip up Southern dishes, like fried chicken and other entrees that wouldn’t be found if you were to search “light and healthy recipes” on the web — announced she has the condition, as she told the media of her new role. As a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk’s new campaign, “Diabetes in a New Light,” she is promoting one of the pharmaceutical company's diabetes drugs, exercise, and of all things, lighter eating.


News of her condition was met with little shock and a lot of judgment to those familiar with her cooking style. Deen shouldn’t be criticized for having a medical condition. However, waiting 3 years after being diagnosed with diabetes to make the announcement — while continuing to whip up dishes like the “Lady’s Brunch Burger” (beef patty topped with bacon and cheese and sandwiched between two glazed doughnuts) on TV — doesn’t show a lot of responsibility, toward her own health or her viewers’.  


Hopefully with the help from diabetes educators and nurses, Deen will replace the butter with healthier options and take control of her disease.


What do you think? Has the backlash toward Paula Deen having diabetes been too harsh? Would viewers still turn to her show if she traded Southern cuisine for light and healthy entrees?


I don't know what the backlash has been, but I think she's irresponsible. I certainly have no respect for her. She doesn't have her audience's best interest in mind. But, she's a cook, a celebrity, and cooking unhealthy foods is her schtick. She's fat, she doesn't look like the picture of health, and anyone who is not in denial, who has had some education on good eating habits would know that the food she publicizes is bad for health. Why she's been so popular is just an indicator of how out of whack our society is about food.

Christine, RN January 23, 2012 11:36 AM

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