JIS News

Activities to mark Diabetes Awareness Week, from November 11 to 16, will turn attention to the growing problem of Type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents.
Type 2 diabetes, also referred to as adult onset diabetes, typically develops in persons over the age of 40 however, there are many juveniles, who are living with the disease, said Executive Director of the Diabetes Association of Jamaica’s (DAJ) Outreach Programme, Owen Bernard.
He attributed the problem to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of children. “Once upon a time, we were more active and we played in our yard and all we do now is play in front of our computers and televisions,” he lamented.
Poor nutrition is also a problem, he pointed out. “Just look outside those school yards on what is being sold. Our children are eating a load of junk and later on this will have an effect, as they are not as active as they should be,” he noted, adding that this presents a greater risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases.
The most common form of diabetes, Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Proper diet and exercise are essential for control and insulin also may be needed.
For children with the condition, parents have an important role to play in helping them manage the disease. “Parents have to understand the needs of their child. they need to know about dosage if the child is on insulin, among other things,” Mr. Bernard explained. “The educational component is very important and so it means that the family needs to be involved,” he added.
In the meantime, the week of events begin with special supplements in the print media on November 11.
A graduation ceremony for 50 foot care assistants will be held at the Terra Nova Hotel on November 12, starting at 12:30 p.m. On November 13, a number of activities will take place at DAJ branches, such as free foot care screening. Some of the new graduates of the foot care programme will be put to work at the DAJ in Kingston. “We will be offering 40 free foot care sessions courtesy of Victoria Mutual Building Society,” Mr. Bernard said.
The November 14 observance of World Diabetes Day will mark the first time that the United Nations (UN) will officially observe the day. Resolution 61/225 was passed in November 2006, establishing the day of observance on the UN calendar. “Now towns and cities all over the world are throwing in their support behind the day and promoting public awareness of just how serious the global diabetes epidemic has become,” Mr. Bernard noted.
Local health officials are expected to attend the special events organized by the UN in New York, on that day. They will be among some 150 member countries of the International Diabetes Federation represented in New York.
Locally, there are plans to have an outside radio broadcast at the head office of the DAJ, 1 Downer Avenue. The Executive Director is inviting persons living with the disease to share their story with listeners by calling 927-9960.
“Let us unite on this day. By doing so it makes us stronger in order to improve the quality of life of those who are at risk or who are afflicted with diabetes,” he appealed.
Activities continue on November 15 with two outside radio broadcasts at the offices of H .D Hopwood and Company Limited at 3 Carifta Avenue, Kingston. In addition, there will be screening of senior citizens at the Jamaica National office in Gayle, St. Mary.

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