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Response to error in the Metro newspaper - our position on the causes of Type 1 diabetes

On 2 January the Metro newspaper ran a story based on our press release about theUK having the world’s 5th highest rate of Type 1 diabetes in children.

In the newspaper (and initially online) the story was headlined “Parents blamed for high diabetes rate”. The story stated, incorrectly, that the high rate is caused by parents failing to notice the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.

It is completely incorrect, and upsetting for parents, to suggest that not noticing the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes has anything to do with the high rate, or that parents are in any way to blame for it.

Our response to the Metro

We contacted the Metro to complain and on 3 January a correction was printed in the newspaper. However, a number of letters printed in the same edition of the paper are based on the original incorrect article.

We sent this letter from our Chief Executive to the Metro on 3 January, and it was published in the newspaper on 4 January.

SIR:

I was pleased to see that you have corrected your article that blamed parents for the high rate of Type 1 diabetes. But I was concerned that although one of the letters published yesterday mentions that the original article was about warnings from Diabetes UK, it is not made clear that we did not suggest or imply this.

So I would like to put it on the record that we are very clear, and always have been, that parents are in no way responsible for their child’s Type 1 diabetes. In fact, the causes of the condition are unknown and, certainly, they have nothing to do with diet or lifestyle.

What we were highlighting was how important it is that parents understand the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes – toilet, thirsty, tired and thinner – as increasing awareness of them could reduce the number of children who are already very unwell by the time they are diagnosed. And, of course, it is equally important that healthcare professionals understand that a child with any of these symptoms needs to be tested for Type 1 diabetes immediately.

Barbara YoungChief ExecutiveDiabetes UK

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