Workshop helps kids cope with diabetes

Primary school students learned about dealing with diabetes at a recent workshop held at Britannia Restaurant.

Christina Rowlandson, who runs a support group for people with diabetes, along with Brittania’s chef Shetty Vidyadhara and Nurse Jean Sparrow-Bodenmiller staged the workshop to help children with diabetes better understand and deal with the disease.

Ms Bodenmiller spoke with students about the two types of diabetes.

In Type 2 diabetes the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin but the body cannot use it effectively. In Type 1 diabetes, the person’s own immune system attacks and destroys the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes found in children.

‘Children with type 1 diabetes need insulin to help keep their blood sugar levels within a normal range but can still lead normal lives with proper diets,’ Ms Bodenmiller said.

‘A healthy diet is the same for everyone, whether or not you have diabetes. Physical activity is also important, and you should try to exercise every day.’

Ms Bodenmiller also cautioned young diabetics in the group to watch their sugar levels, and to make sure they had something sweet in their pockets to eat when sugar levels dropped.

‘In some cases the disease can go undiagnosed for quite some time in children, but with so many new medicines and equipment on the market these days, treatment for diabetes has gotten better,’ she said.

Symptoms are the same as in adults. These are thirst, weight loss, tiredness and frequent urination. Some symptoms in children also include stomach pains, headaches and behaviour problems.

Students were also taught how to prepare healthy meals for daily living.

In the kitchen, chef Shetty showed the children how to prepare sugar free pancakes and waffles, which were quickly consumed by the group of children.