then you see this and it REALLY makes you think, and wonder if you should pass it on
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans
Health Officials Unveil Explicit Anti-Sugar Diabetes Ad
An overweight man is shown drinking a bottle of soda in the morning, a sweet tea at lunch, a giant frothy iced latte in the afternoon and more soda with dinner. The number of packets of sugar in each heavily sweetened drink appears, ending with the staggering total of 93 packets gulped down that day.
But then the PSA abruptly shifts gears, going into shocker mode. An obese man, presumably the same person later in life after he has gotten diabetes, is seen riding down the street in a motorized wheelchair. Images of blackened, gangrene-infested toes and the man being resuscitated after a heart attack flash across the screen.
The jarring ad ends with the warning: "Don't drink yourself sick" and asks, "Are you pouring on the pounds?"
Is this what it takes to get through to people about the dangers of sugar-laden drinks? The New York City Health Department thinks it is.
"Too many sugar-sweetened drinks are fueling the obesity epidemic," Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a statement. "Obesity and the serious health consequences that result are making hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers sick or disabled. This new campaign shows how easy it is to drink a staggering amount of sugar in one day without realizing it."
The Health Department says the graphic ad intentionally tries to frighten people into curbing their consumption of over-sweetened drinks and adopting better eating habits.
Nutritionist Megan Fendt of the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center said such shock ads can have mixed results.
"Scare tactics are going to work for some people," she told AOL Health. "Other people are going to totally ignore it and shut it off."
Fendt believes the Health Department does have the right idea when it comes to raising awareness about the health hazards of overly sweetened drinks.
"It does make sense to target sugary drinks as a behavior modification and encourage people to have something else instead," she said. "It seems to be one of the easiest changes people can make in terms of the overall calories they're taking in."
But the PSA's depiction of blackened, gangrenous toes as a consequence of diabetes is questionable, since the condition is so rare.
Check out the full PSA. Story continues below the video.
"Those [effects] are not that common. They're usually very end-stage," Fendt said. "Those are generally in people with very, very poor control and not a lot of follow-up. It's not like you get diabetes and you wake up a day later and your toes fall off."
Heart attacks like the ones shown in the ad more frequently befall those with the disease, she said.
More than 700,000 New Yorkers currently have diabetes and more than a million suffer from a condition known as pre-diabetes, according to the Health Department. The blood-sugar illness -- which has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers -- leads to about 1,700 deaths, 2,800 amputations and 22,000 hospitalizations just in New York City alone, the news release said.
It isn't the first time the city's health officials caused a stir with a public service announcement. Last month, an AIDS ad showing explicit photos of anal cancer sparked controversy.
The diabetes campaign was launched on Monday and will run through February 22