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“With the increasing occurrence of diabetes among adolescents discuss how they cope whilst at school/college”.

Diabetes is increasing among adolescents for a number of reasons, such as poor diet and lack of exercise. Therefore it must be considered how adolescents cope whilst they are at school/college. Diabetes U.K. (2006) says: “Going back to school/college after you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes is never going to be a breeze,” and that’s why we must consider a number of things, such as how adolescents: cope with their diagnosis, control their diabetes and manage to stick to a healthy diet.

When returning to school/college, after being diagnosed, a student will be asked lots of questions by their peers and teachers. In order to solve any questions that may be asked the student should be able to explain their condition and how they are going to cope whilst at school/college. Diabetes U.K. (2006) suggests that the student should explain what diabetes means to them on a daily basis, such as: “needing to eat snacks, what hypos are and how to deal with them and doing blood sugar tests, if needed”.

Attendance at school/college, for a diabetic student, should be no different than the attendance of a non-diabetic student. Regular attendance at school/college is expected and absences should only occur for visits to the diabetic clinic, unless these can be arranged for out of school/college hours. Academic studies and activities should not change for the diabetic student but schools/colleges need to be made aware of certain factors that may affect the diabetic student’s daily routine. Drury et al. (1996, pp.263) suggests a number of factors that schools/colleges need to understand, such as: “the need for a mid-morning and afternoon snack” and “knowing how to recognise and treat hypoglycaemic attacks”. Diabetics should follow a healthy diet at all times in order to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. However, whilst at school/college this can be a difficult challenge due to peer pressure. Diabetic students may feel like an outsider because they cannot eat the same foods as their friends e.g. they cannot eat sugary foods as this will raise their blood sugar levels too high. In order for the diabetic student to not feel left out Way (2003) suggests that perhaps “schools should discourage junk food and promote physical education”.

In order to stick to a healthy diet schools/colleges should be able to provide school dinners that are appropriate for diabetic students. This means that school dinners should be based around starchy, high fibre foods, such as breads, cereals and potatoes. This is because they contain energy in the form of carbohydrate, which help to regulate and maintain the diabetic student’s diabetes. However, it maybe advisable for diabetic students to provide their own lunches as it has been suggested that school dinners do not provide enough nutritional content. This may not be the case for long though due to the campaign started by Jamie Oliver over the past few years. The idea is that schools should be able to provide nutritionally balanced food for their students and this will, of course, benefits diabetic students. Oliver (2006) says: “It’s all about making radical changes to the school meals system and challenging the junk food culture by showing schools they can serve fresh nutritious meals that kids enjoy eating.”

Managing diabetes whilst at school/college can be hard for the diabetic student. However, the school/college can help to ease the student’s time by putting processes into place to make sure that whilst they study they do not feel any different than their peers. Some of these processes have been highlighted within this essay, such as: making sure staff and peers are aware of how to deal with diabetes and the school/college having the facilities to provide school dinners that are appropriate for a diabetic student. By mainly looking at how schools/colleges are able to help the diabetic student eat healthily it has been highlighted how important it is for a diabetic to stick to a healthy diet, as this helps to maintain blood sugar levels. From the information discussed within this essay it can be seen that schools/colleges have to put in place a number of features in order to help diabetic students. Perhaps in the future it maybe appropriate to investigate what physical activity is encouraged whilst at school/college in order to fully discuss how diabetic students cope whilst they are studying as physical activity can help with the management of diabetes.


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