Diabetes Forecast

Where We've Been...

60 Years of Diabetes Forecast

By Katie Bunker and A. Kate Harsh , ,

It was 1948—the same year that saw the birth of Rock and Roll, the state of Israel, NASCAR, and Ozzy Osborne. ADA Forecast was published in January, the first national magazine for people with diabetes. Initially appearing six times a year, the magazine was funded by an anonymous gift of $100,000. The editor-in-chief at the time, Elizabeth Mullann, explained that the word "Forecast" was chosen to denote a bright future for people with diabetes.

ADA Forecast looked nothing like what you see today. Originally sized at just 5 inches by 7 inches, the small paper booklet was about 30 pages in length and included no advertising. It was mailed to recipients in a brown paper bag—diabetes still bore a strong social stigma in many circles. The first magazine-size issue was published in 1974 (without the brown-bag wrapper) and renamed Diabetes Forecast. In 1951, ADA Forecast was read by 20,000 subscribers. Today, an estimated 4.5 million people read the magazine every month.

"Hiram Hamster" was created by schoolteacher Clara Swanson for an ADA Forecast Cartoon Contest in 1967. He was featured frequently up through 1973, giving readers helpful hints for managing their diabetes.

March 1951 marks the first appearance of Dave's Diary, a popular feature created by former ADA President Frederick Williams, MD. "Dave" shared humorous, helpful lessons on dealing with diabetes in daily life.

What We Learned...

Diabetes Forecast was there when the American Diabetes Association announced its approval of a standardized insulin syringe in 1949. We saw Frederick Sanger characterize the protein make-up of insulin in 1955. During the Cold War, we listed emergency food rations that readers should stow away in case of a bombing. In recent years, we've covered discrimination in schools and at work.

What We Ate...

As the number of people with diabetes grew, the demands for different dietary needs grew as well. Forecast addressed those needs with continuing coverage of the artificial sweetener debate, alternative recipes for traditional holiday foods, evaluation of menu items at fast food restaurants, and attention to ethnic diversity in meal planning.

Who We Talked To...

Forecast has made an effort to represent the many faces of diabetes throughout the decades—and many of those faces, it turns out, are recognizable. Readers over the years have drawn inspiration from stories of celebrities, including athletes like baseball player Catfish Hunter, and rock stars like Bret Michaels and Nick Jonas. While most of the celebrities featured on Forecast covers have diabetes themselves, some of them are simply famous spokespeople interested in the cause.



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