Taking diabetes to schools

Cayman schoolchildren aged seven to 10 learned about diabetes, healthy living and research for a diabetes cure last week during a series of diabetes awareness interventions at Grand Cayman schools.

Christina Rowlandson, who runs a local diabetic support group, and Anna Maria Patino-Fernandez, a pediatric psychologist from Miami’s Diabetes Research Institute, addressed children from Savannah, Red Bay, East End, North Side, George Town, John A. Cumber and Prospect primary schools.

Children listened attentively as Ms Patino-Fernandez read the story called ‘Taking Diabetes to School’ with characters named Jason and Lacey who both have diabetes.

Children also learned through interactive question time. Some of the most common questions were ‘does diabetes kill you’, ‘what are genes’ and ‘do animals get diabetes’. One student queried how many children in the Cayman Islands have diabetes. Unfortunately, this is not known, said Ms Rowlandson, but a prevalence study could determine the number.

Ms Rowlandson said the intervention in schools is important for a number of reasons.

‘Diabetes and obesity is affecting more and more families in the Cayman Islands as it is worldwide but through early prevention programs we may be able to stop diabetes.’

The interventions are also important for teachers, Ms Rowaldson added, because they may be the first to recognise diabetes signs and symptoms.

The school visits precede World Diabetes Day which will be held for the first time next month on 14 November. To mark that occasion, teachers were given Unite for Diabetes pins, a symbol of global solidarity on the issue of diabetes prevention, treatment and care.

FYI

For more information about World Diabetes Day, or the Cayman Islands Diabetic Support Group, call Christina Rowlandson on 926-1053.