Posts Tagged ‘managing diabetes’

Each November we take time to recognize National Diabetes Month and American Diabetes Month. In the last 20 years, the number of adults in the US diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled, reaching 34.2 million people with diabetes (about 10.5 percent of the US population). Here in Ohio nearly one million adults have diabetes and an additional 300,000 have diabetes but do not know it.

National Diabetes Month theme is Taking care of youth who have diabetes.

Diabetes does not just affect adults. That is why the National Diabetes Month campaign this year is “Taking Care of Youth Who Have Diabetes”. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in school-age youth in the United States, affecting about 193,000 youth under 20 years old. It is important to help your child or teen develop a plan to manage diabetes, and work with their health care team to adjust the diabetes self-care plan as needed.

Here are some tips to consider for your youth’s diabetes self-care plan:

  • Manage blood glucose levels. Make sure your child or teen takes their medicines as prescribed, at the right time, and the right dose.
  • Encourage healthy habits. Follow a healthy eating plan (especially if your youth is taking insulin), get enough sleep, and aim for regular physical activity.
  • Stay prepared for emergencies. A basic “go-kit” could include medical supplies and equipment, professional contact lists, and a medication list including doses and dosing schedules.
  • Monitor for diabetes complications. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce risk for heart disease, vision loss, nerve damage, and other related health problems.
  • Seek mental health support. Encourage them to connect with other youth who have diabetes. Youth may not be used to talking about feeling anxious or alone about their diabetes. Consider summer diabetes camps near you.
Tips to help youth who have diabetes

I am a parent, but my children do not have diabetes. This information left me wondering, “But what can I actually do to help?” What can we as friends and neighbors do to be supportive of kids with diabetes? I came across some research involving in-depth interviews with children who have type 1 diabetes.

They found that these youth mentioned the most positive supporters were sensitive to their needs, but not overly protective. The researchers termed these folks as helpers and normalizers. Most children mentioned their friends who are willing to wait. These friends will wait to eat until the child with diabetes is able to eat. They will wait to eat a food in front of their friend with diabetes until they know they can eat it too. I encourage you to discuss this with the kids or grandkids in your life. Encourage them to be a helper and a friend who waits.

Please check out recorded videos from this summer’s Dining with Diabetes Cooking Demonstrations.  There is also a free online course called Dining with Diabetes Beyond the Kitchen. This is a self-paced course with topics like making healthy choices when eating at restaurants, grocery shopping, or planning weekly meals.

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, Wellness, OSU Extension


Rankin, D., et al. Pre‐adolescent children’s experiences of receiving diabetes‐related support from friends and peers: A qualitative study. Health Expectations. 2018; 21(5): 870-877. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6186536/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fdiabetes%2Fdata%2Fstatistics%2Fstatistics-report.html

Ohio Department of Health. Ohio Diabetes Action Plan 2018. https://odh.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/odh/know-our-programs/chronic-disease/data-publications/ohio-diabetes-action-plan-2018

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