Utah documentary ‘Sugar Babies’ shown for World Diabetes Day
A pigtailed pre-schooler squirms in her mother’s arms as she awaits a nurse’s needle, crying and exclaiming, "I don’t want to do my blood!"
An overweight boy muses, "I grew up eating a lot of sugar so it’s hard not to."
A young man walks with an umbrella, looking at the city around him. "I like my eyesight. A lot," he says. "I’d like to keep it."
The scenes are from "Sugar Babies," a new 40-minute documentary from Salt Lake City filmmaker Jenny Mackenzie. In 2002, her 4-year-old daughter was the third generation in her family to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes in Utah
One in 14 Utah adults — or more than 135,000 people — have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in Utah.
There are more than 300 hospital discharges a year in Utah for amputations of toes, feet and lower areas of legs for Utahns with diabetes.
Source: Utah Department of Health
Watching her daughter cope inspired her to create the film about Type 1 and 2 diabetes, as experienced by her own family and other children.
The recently completed movie was screened for Utah leaders at the state Capitol Thursday in recognition of World Diabetes Day and November’s Diabetes Awareness Month.
A free screening will be offered at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Salt Lake City’s Main Library.
"The breakneck speed at which diabetes is rising in Utah is frightening," said Laura Western, executive director of the Utah chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), in a statement urging Utahns to get screened.
The prevalence of diabetes is higher in Utah’s minority communities; an estimated 12.2 percent of American Indians in Utah and 12 percent of Pacific Islanders have the disease. More than 135,000 Utahns have been diagnosed and an estimated 47,000 adults in the state are unaware they have it, according to the JDRF.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s body fails to produce insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the far more common form, a person’s body does not use insulin properly. Linked to obesity, diets high in sugar and sedentary lifestyles, it is increasingly being diagnosed in children.