Diabetes PSA Uses Fake Amputee


We’ve heard of Photoshopping models to make them look thinner, but the photo editors at New York City’s Department of Health made it look like a model dropped an entirely different kind of weight. In a new ad campaign warning of the dangers of type 2 diabetes, the city features an overweight man with one leg amputated accompanied by the warning, “Portions have grown. So has type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations.” Below, it shows how the standard sizes of fast food soda cups have grown exponentially in the past few decades.

“The portion sizes that are marketed are often much more than humans need,” Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said in a press release from the NYC Health Department. “We are warning people about the risks of super-size portions so they can make more informed choices about what they eat. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain, which greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. If New Yorkers cut their portions, they can cut their risk of these health problems.”

But the href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/25/nyregion/in-health-dept-ad-photoshop-not-diabetes-took-leg.html” target=”_blank”>New York Times exposed that the shocking poster is full of hot air when they dug up the original photo of the model with both legs intact. They reached out to the Health Department, who confirmed that the photo was a stock image that was doctored for the ad.

“Sometimes we use individuals who are suffering from the particular disease; other times we have to use actors,” spokesman John Kelly told the Times. “We might stop using actors in our ads if the food industry stops using actors in theirs.”

Fair enough.

This isn’t the first time the city has turned to extreme tactics to warn the public about health issues. They once featured an ad with a (real) woman who had approximately 20 amputations because of smoking and another anti-smoking ad featuring a man with a hole in his throat who had to speak through a voice box.