Nine out of 10 children with diabetes lack support at school
Rome, Italy – Novo Nordisk, together with the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD), today presented the results from the largest international survey exploring the psychosocial aspects of childhood diabetes. The DAWN Youth (Diabetes, Attitudes, Wishes and Needs) survey draws an alarming portrait of the various challenges that children with diabetes face at school:
· Six out of 10 children with diabetes do not manage their diabetes successfully in school (according to their physicians)
· Nine out of 10 cannot rely on a school nurse to assist them with their diabetes during school
· Indications are that children with diabetes drop out of school earlier than others.
In addition, the survey highlights the lack of awareness and appropriate measures taken such as available school nurses or school staff to answer to the needs of children with diabetes in a school environment. And the consequences of poor diabetes management are frightening: if the blood sugar level is too high or too low the child can feel ill, lose concentration or in worst case, suffer from an insulin shock. Poorly regulated diabetes can, in the long run, lead to severe complications to the heart or kidneys. All this can easily be prevented by good and proper diabetes care and support.
“The situation for children with diabetes in school today is unacceptable. The risks that children face due to poor support in school environments are serious and life-threatening. The DAWN Youth survey results indeed highlight the importance of dealing with the problems of diabetes in relation to children. The conditions for children with diabetes in school can only be changed when parents, school staff and healthcare providers work together – each taking their part of the responsibility,” says Professor Thomas Danne, secretary general of ISPAD.
Need for unified action
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood and can strike children at any age. Today, more than 200 children a day develop diabetes and the disease poses a severe burden for these children and their families as it affects them physically, mentally and socially. Therefore, children with diabetes need permanent attention from their families and surroundings.
“It is very important to involve families and the education system, starting from primary school. An example for all: we should replace automatic snack vendors with the option of eating fruit and vegetables. We can summarise this lifestyle in a slogan, so that it is easier to understand for children: more sport and nature, less snacks,” declares Italian Senator Emanuela Baio, secretary of the Senate President’s Committee and member of the Parliamentary Committee for Children.
Drawing on coordinated research and advocacy across countries, a variety of initiatives are being facilitated via the DAWN Youth initiative to promote access to adequate education and psychosocial support to families affected by diabetes worldwide. For example, the US DAWN Youth has given substantial support to the training aspects of the American Diabetes Association’s ‘Safe at School’ programme. The programme offers advocacy training for school nurses, school policymakers, educators, parents and other advocates on challenges and strategies in school diabetes care.
“Novo Nordisk strongly believes that all children with diabetes have a right to equal access to education as well as a safe environment at school. Novo Nordisk will continue supporting initiatives that highlight conditions of children with diabetes, raise childhood diabetes awareness and continue to give children with diabetes and their parents a voice,” says Lise Kingo, executive vice president and chief of staffs at Novo Nordisk.
About the DAWN Youth survey
The DAWN Youth survey was carried out in 2007–2008 in order to gather information on diabetes and its influence on the lives of children and young people with diabetes. Schools have been one of the focus areas in the survey. The respondents in the survey were young people with diabetes, parents or caregivers of at least one child with diabetes, and healthcare professionals. 9,200 respondents from 13 different countries participated in the survey.
For more information and background about the DAWN Youth initiative please visit dawnyouth.com.
Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care. In addition, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services. With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 26,300 employees in 80 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk's B shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Copenhagen and London. Its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'NVO'. For more information, visit novonordisk.com.
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