Youth-Onset Diabetes (YOD) Awareness and Prevention
If not now – when?
Be Proactive and Include Advocacy in Your Action
The current and growing scale of the diabetes pandemic needs to be reversed
- The initial ‘invisibility’ and progressive nature of youth-onset type 2 diabetes demand timely responses
- The burden of diabetes affects not only youth and their families but also school and healthcare systems, employers and workplace productivity, demands on healthcare providers, medical education curricula and national economies; with a growing cost impacting all Canadians.
- Effective responses are impeded by shortfalls in Canadian healthcare systems and processes;
- incomplete Canadian national surveillance data for youth-onset diabetes by age, gender, diabetes type, date of diagnosis, ethnicity and location.
- Gaps in the implementation of essential in-school support processes for students with diabetes.
- Continuity of care for youth living with diabetes remains challenging. Systemic disconnects between the paediatric and adult healthcare system increase the potential for dangerous lapses in continuity of care. Presence of mental health difficulties and other comorbidities necessitate multi-disciplined care teams and can further amplify healthcare systemic disconnects.
Make a Difference
Youth and families need to understand their diabetes risks and how to reduce those risks. They need help to ensure they have easy access to essential resources and support.
Our youth are our future. We all need to help protect them from youth-onset diabetes. When that fails, we need to help them to:
- Master self-management of the condition
- Avoid or at least delay diabetes complications
- Be safe at school and free from bullying
- Enjoy a full learning experience
- Dave continuity of care from pediatric to adult healthcare
Individuals and organizations who routinely interact with youth and/or their families are essential for diabetes prevention program success. Parents, Teachers, Healthcare Providers, Employers, Community-based program Leaders, Schools, Municipalities and District Health Units all can make a difference. They can do so through actions that:
- Encourage and nurture a healthy lifestyle
- Provide, or ensure access to, essential information and diabetes risk assessment
- Eliminate peer bullying
- Provide infrastructure and processes to facilitate relevant support
- Create and sustain pressure on elected officials, education and healthcare systems leaders to close the gaps in the Canadian collective capability to effectively prevent youth-onset diabetes; and failing that, provide the quality and continuity of care required.
Youth-Onset Diabetes Prevention Opportunity Points
Type 1 onset cannot be prevented but healthy lifestyle always matters.
Encourage Prevention: Check Your Diabetes Risk
|Diagnosis & Treatment|
Reduce your diabetes risk and encourage youth and families to do the same
|Individual Care Plan
In-School support process
Prevention is not just about initial ‘avoidance’; attention is required throughout the course of life.
Youth-Onset Diabetes Awareness (YOD) and Prevention
Knowledge Requirements – Helping to Prevent YOD
- Risk factors for, and the nature of, youth-onset Type 2 diabetes
- Diabetes basics including symptoms, T2, T1 differences, complications and co-morbidities
- The bi-directional relationships among Diabetes, Overweight, Obesity and Mental Health
- Where and how to access diabetes risk assessment tools and diabetes screening
- What it is like to live with diabetes and the impact
- How to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes complications
- The in-school challenges facing students with diabetes
- The early planning need and safeguards for successful transition to adult healthcare
Actions & SFBLF Resources – Helping to Prevent YOD
- Take the Youth online risk assessment: for children and youth age 8 – 18
- Take the Adult CanRisk Assessment: for adults age 40 – 74
- Seek diabetes screening from a healthcare professional if your online risk assessment result indicates
Certain ethnic groups are at much higher risk: e.g., First Nations, Metis and Inuit in Canada,; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia; and African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans in the USA are at higher risk of type 2.
Increase your Knowledge about Diabetes: Encourage friends and family to do the same.
Take the Self-Directed, free , fully narrated Understanding Diabetes eLearning course.
Take the free, fully narrated and interactive Mental Health & Diabetes in Youth eLearning course.
Download the short tutorials from this website to learn about selected key ‘issues’ relating to youth living with diabetes.
Take the online self-scoring diabetes quizzes to test your knowledge.
Visit the Banting Homestead by taking the 3D Virtual Tour of the buildings and exhibits at the Banting Homestead Heritage Park, birthplace of Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin and Canada’s first Nobel Laureate. Test your knowledge with the related online, self-scoring quizzes
Participate in one of our Webinars: Instructor-led
Schedule an online, interactive Webinar for your school class, workplace or special interest group or (when permitted, schedule a visit by your School or Group Tour of the Banting Homestead Heritage Park.
Reduce your diabetes risk and encourage youth and families to do the same
- Choose, encourage and facilitate healthy eating habits
- Reduce weight if overweight
- Be more active
- Don’t smoke
- Seek an annual diabetes check by a medical professional
Increase diabetes awareness in schools and workplaces
- Hold a Diabetes Awareness Day or Event
- Add a Prevention Campaign page or support note to your website
- Post diabetes infographics in your school, workplace, libraries, recreational centres and similar venues available for public access
- Promote implementation of in-school support processes for students with diabetes
- Ensure your Workplace Wellness program includes a focus on youth-onset diabetes
SFBLF can prepare ‘custom’, informative handouts for sharing with students, employees, families and the general public.
If you have diabetes, reduce your risk of complications
- Be diligent in checking your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and in adhering to your prescribed therapy
- Follow the risk reduction actions listed above
- Maintain your scheduled visits with your Diabetes Educator
- Use free software applications to help make diabetes self-management easier and safer
- Seek help if you are experiencing emotional highs and lows as a result of your diabetes and the demands of self-management; in addition to family and friends, peer networks can help
- Seek help if you have food insecurity challenges; use the SFBLF survey to help communicate with your healthcare provider. Use as is for now, BUT this survey needs a ‘page’; i.e., the link goes straight to the survey but some ‘text ’ is required to explain how this survey should be used along with some brief context re ‘food insecurity’ and relation to diabetes
Summary Actions Youth & Parents
Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The starting focus for prevention needs to be on Type 2 diabetes but with equal attention to preventing diabetes-related complications for youth living with either type of diabetes.
- Understand diabetes and the risks and discuss that information as a family.
- Take our free, self-paced e-Learning course, Understanding Diabetes.
- Youthful family members should take our online, self-scoring diabetes risk test, discuss the results with family members and seek further testing from a healthcare professional if the results suggest the need.
- Parents should do the same for themselves using similar questionnaires for adults.
- Work together as a family to understand ‘healthy eating’ and to develop a shared approach to regular exercise.
- Ask your teacher to schedule an interactive SFBLF Webinar or School Tour to our Diabetes Management and Education Centre in Alliston, Ontario at the historic birthplace of Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin and Canada’s first Nobel Laureate.
if living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, then the required focus is to:
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
- Ensure you have provided an Individual Care Plan to the school for your student; keep it current
- Consider use of technology to stay ‘connected’ with your student’s diabetes condition status
- Understand the implications of ‘transition’ from the paediatric to adult healthcare system and ‘get ready’
- Advocate for essential ‘in school support’ processes for youth living with diabetes and understand what your role has to be to ensure a safe and fully engaged daily school experience for your student.
Summary Actions for Teachers & Students
Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The starting focus for prevention needs to be on Type 2 diabetes in youth but with equal attention to preventing diabetes-related complications for youth living with either type of diabetes.
- Understand diabetes and the risks and share that information with your students
- Encourage your students to take our online, self-scoring diabetes risk test and discuss the results with family members and seek further testing from a healthcare professional if the results suggest the need.
- Consider doing the same for yourself using similar questionnaires for adults.
- Encourage your students to take our free, self-paced e-Learning course, Understanding Diabetes.
- Help students to understand ‘healthy eating’ and the importance of regular exercise.
- Schedule an online, interactive SFBLF Webinar for your class
- Schedule a School Tour to our Diabetes Management and Education Centre in Alliston, Ontario at the historic birthplace of Sir Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin and Canada’s first Nobel Laureate. Transportation subsidies are available.
If your students are living with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, then the added focus is to:
- Help students to reduce their risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
- Be familiar with their Individual Care Plan and supportive of their essential diabetes self-management needs:
- a clean, safe area for diabetes self-care including storage of their medications and medical supplies
- appropriate supervision to ensure students eat on time and in full
- permission to keep, and use as required, a blood glucose meter, insulin injection kit (or pump), snacks and fast-acting sugar source for hypoglycemia treatment, and a diabetes emergency kit
- recognition that similar support is required during examinations, tests and quizzes and that a hypoglycemic event during such periods requires additional time to recover cognitive ability
- Understand, and advocate for, essential ‘in school support’ processes available for a youth living with diabetes and what your role has to be to ensure a safe and fully engaged daily school experience for the student. If such a process exists, nominate your school for an SFBLF National Recognition Award
- Help students to understand the implications of ‘transition’ from the pediatric to adult healthcare system and the need to ‘get ready’ well in advance.
SFBLF tools & Resources to help with these actions are described above
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