BACK TO SCHOOL WITH DIABETES

~ About 215,000 Americans Younger 20 Have Diabetes ~

As the summer winds down and the back to school season arrives, the National Diabetes Education Program wants to give the parents of children with diabetes some valuable tools to help their children effectively manage diabetes, effectively work with school personnel from the school health team to implement the provisions of their child’s written diabetes care plan and provide the necessary assistance in the school environment.

About 215,000 Americans younger than age 20 have diabetes. In most or these cases, children and adolescents are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, although still rare in young people, is being diagnosed more frequently among those who are 10-19 years old, and it is especially prevalent in minority populations such as American Indians, African Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. Other risk factors include: being overweight, not getting enough exercise, and having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes. If present trends continue, one in three children born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime.

Diabetes must be managed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s why it is critical for parents and school personnel to work together. Under federal law, schools have a responsibility to help children manage diabetes. That’s why it’s important for parents to work with school personnel to make sure that the school understands and can implement their child’s diabetes care plan. The plan may include specific nutritional needs during the school day, so it is important that parents check out cafeterias, vending machines, school stores, and other places where food is sold at school to ensure specific nutritional guidelines are met.

When children and adolescents with diabetes take care of their disease, they can avoid serious complications. The best way to do this is to make healthy food choices; choose to drink water; eat smaller portions of foods; make half your plate veggies and/ or fruit, one-fourth a whole grain, such as brown rice, and one-fourth a protein food, such as lean meat, poultry or fish, or dried beans; be active for at least 60 minutes every day to help burn up extra calories and get fit; and take medicines and check blood glucose as planned with the health care team.

To learn more, parents are encouraged to order a free copy of Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School Personnel by visiting: http://www.YourDiabetesInfo.org/SchoolGuide. For more information about the prevalence of diabetes in youth, visit the Diabetes in Children Overview fact sheet at http://ndep.nih.gov//media/youth_factsheet.pdf.

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