10 Messages on Diabetes

These messages were developed over many months with imput from experts, teachers and doctors. We developed a great poster for people to display in schools, medical facsilities and anywhere children are. If you’re unable to download the poster, please read on for the 10 messages.
  1. Our body breaks down what we eat and drink into fuel that our bodies need to grow, move and think. This is called digestion.
  2. During digestion, some of what we eat and drink is turned into a sugar called glucose. Food like rice, bread, French fries, and noodles and snacks like candy, crackers, desserts and sweet drinks turn into glucose quickly.
  3. When we move, our bodies use energy from glucose. If we stay still for too long, the glucose is not used and too much is left in the body.
  4. There are different types of diabetes. Type 2 is the most common. It is mainly caused by eating too many processed foods, sugary foods, drinking too many sugary drinks and not moving enough.
  5. Type 2 Diabetes is a health condition that happens when there is too much glucose in the blood. It can make a person tired, weak, thirsty and feel ill but some people do not feel any symptoms.
  6. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes! 1. Eat and drink less sugar. 2. Eat meals with colourful fruits and vegetables. 3. Move more. 4. Drink mostly water. 5. Get eight hours of sleep at night.
  7. Type 2 Diabetes affects the circulation of the blood. If not controlled it can damage the eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, skin and lower limbs.
  8. To make sure our body is strong inside and out, we must be as active as we can.
  9. Prediabetes happens when sugar levels in the blood are high. It can be reduced by eating well and moving more. More and more children have prediabetes which can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
  10. Changing what we eat and drink and moving more can be HARD at first. Help from friends and family can make eating healthy and moving more fun for everyone. Start today with one small change.

More Information on Diabetes
for Educators

Insulin is a chemical in the body made by an organ called the pancreas. Its job is to move the glucose out of the blood into the cells of the body so the glucose can be made into energy.

  1. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by the body’s immune system attacking and destroying the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 happens mostly to children and young people. Children who have Type 1 diabetes need to often check the sugar in their blood and need insulin to keep their bodies working well.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. The pancreas still makes some insulin but the body is resisting or not allowing the insulin to work well. This is called “insulin resistance.” Type 2 diabetes used to be an adult condition but more and more children and young people are getting it. Unlike Type 1 diabetes it can sometimes be prevented or delayed by eating healthy meals, preventing too much weight gain, and being active. Factors that increase risk of diabetes include: stress, lack of nutritious food, harmful chemicals in our environment or having family members with diabetes.
  3. In Prediabetes, the pancreas is working very hard to produce enough insulin to keep the blood sugar in the normal range. After a while the pancreas cannot keep up with the insulin needs of the body and so the blood sugar will increase. A person may feel tired and weak as glucose is in the blood and not going into the cells or there may be no signs of this but if people get their blood sugar checked, they can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  4. Gestational Diabetes is high levels of blood sugar (glucose) that develops during a woman’s pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. She may still be at risk for having Type 2 Diabetes and should be checked regularly.

What Can Children Do?

  • MAKE our own Diabetes messages using our own words in our own language!
  • MEMORIZE the messages so we never forget them!
  • USE song, dance and drama to share Diabetes messages with others!
  • SHARE the messages with other children and our families!
  • MAKE posters about how to prevent Type 2 Diabetes.
  • MAKE up stories or plays about a family where their lifestyle changes reduced prediabetes.
  • CREATE stories or dramas to show children teaching others how to make the changes to eat better and move more and why this is important. Don’t forget it’s hard.
  • CREATE stories or drama about why people do get stuck in their habits and do not want to change.
  • TRACK what you and a friend eat and drink for a week. It’s fun to do this in pairs or groups or as a family.
  • MAKE A LIST of activities that you enjoy – like dancing, jumping, swimming, If you don’t like sports and exercise – just moving or ‘fidgeting’ more through the day makes a big difference and everyone can do that!
  • TALK to the person who decides what food and drink to buy and cook.
  • HAVE healthy sleep habits and try not to worry about things you can’t change.
  • ORGANIZE a campaign to warn others about the impact of Type 2 diabetes on a person and a family.
  • INVITE a health worker to visit your school and talk about the different types of diabetes.
  • LOOK at labels on food that is commonly bought in your family. CALCULATE how much sugar is in this food per serving.