Viewers with diabetes have been angered by the misinformation of an anti-snacking advert by Food Standards Scotland (FSS).
The ad is 30 seconds long but devotes less than half of that to getting the message across that unhealthy snacks can have an impact on health in later life.
The message behind the advert makes a degree of sense as having unhealthy snacks on a regular basis is known to increase the risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes later in life.
However, the way the video has been presented has annoyed many viewers. It is very difficult to get across the right message about type 2 diabetes prevention in such a short space of time and the agency has stumbled in its attempt.
The advert features a girl of healthy weight being handed chocolate by her mum. The girl, after being prompted by the mum, tells the viewer: “When I’m older, being overweight will affect my confidence.”
The girl continues: “I’m more likely to get diabetes and having children might be harder for me.”
Originally, the advert failed to state which type of diabetes was being referred to. This angered people with type 1 diabetes as the use of healthy weight child in the advert seemed to suggest type 1 diabetes, which is not brought on by lifestyle factors.
Tweets from viewers stated that the advert was “terribly informed” and failed to differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and others pointed out that the advert would only encourage bullying of children with type 1 diabetes.
Food Standards Scotland responded to the criticism by adding a small subtitle sized note on the video saying “refers to type 2 diabetes”.
Despite the change, viewers were still angry that a complicated condition such as type 2 diabetes was being reduced down to an over-simplified message. They argued that the advert can be seen to be saying that type 2 diabetes is only caused by unhealthy snacking.
Whilst unhealthy snacking can be part of the problem in some people, there are a number of other factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes. Stress, shift-working patterns, genetics and also high doses of steroids and certain other medications can also greatly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Another critic tweeted pictures of the vast arrays of sugary food offered within their local convenience store to make the argument that walls of unhealthy snacks are literally put in front of people’s faces on a daily basis.
After receiving many complaints, Food Standards Scotland have now removed the advert.