American Girl has created an elaborate world of dolls that draws in fans of all ages – including grown up doll fans. This week the Mattel company announced the addition of a diabetes care kit accessory pack for dolls CNBC reported on Tuesday, December 29. The diabetes care kit meets the demand of fans like Anja Busse of Wisconsin who started a change.org campaign requesting the kit for her doll two years ago when she was 11-years-old. Busse has type 1 diabetes and wanted the accessories for her doll to be “just like her.”
Celebrity trainer Vinnie Tortorich took to Twitter Tuesday to ask, “Is there an American Girl that comes with running shoes, jump rope and a bicycle??? A tree to climb?” He added the hashtag “#WTF.
Tortorich, author of “Fitness Confidential” and host of the “Angriest Trainer” podcast, seems to be questioning what American Girl is doing to fight against childhood obesity, the leading cause of type 2 diabetes according to the CDC. The CDC reports 80% of children with type 2 diabetes are obese. It appears Tortorich’s critique is that the current selection of dolls and accessories isn’t addressing this need.
While diet and exercise reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, there are no prevention for type 1 diabetes. Lindsay Crapo, mother of a child with type 1 diabetes, says, “Parents have asked for the actual name of the diseases to be changed for years because they are such completely different diseases when it comes to demographic and victims.”
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body loses the ability to make the hormone insulin. There is no cure and it is a lifelong battle filled with injections, insulin pumps, numerous skin pricks daily and constant monitoring and hyper-vigilance. It has nothing to do with what someone ate, how much they exercised or their weight.
Anja’s mother, Ingrid Busse, says, “So many times the media talks about diabetes as a singular disease and makes no reference to type 1 diabetes. Because of the misinformation people assume that type 1 diabetes is the same as type 2 diabetes.”
She and Anja are thrilled with the advocacy, education and support the American Girl diabetes care kits are giving. “These type 1 diabetes kits are helping kids cope with this difficult disease and making them feel like they are not alone. Now a type 1 diabetic child can walk into an American Girl store and see a doll that truly does look like them. That’s why we are so excited about this product and it brings us such joy.”
The doll diabetes care kits can be ordered online from the American Girl website for $24. It is also available at American Girl stores, where Busse says it is quickly flying off the shelves. The kit contains a blood sugar monitor and lancing device, an insulin pump that can be clipped to a doll’s waistband, plus an adhesive to attach the infusion set, an insulin pen, for dolls that aren’t using the pump, a medical bracelet specifying type 1 diabetes, glucose tablets, a log book, a special case for the supplies, an ID card and stickers to add personalization.
* This article has been edited from the original version to add information about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.