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Nationwide Plan to Make Children Aware of Diabetes

Health officials have begun implementing a three-year countrywide plan in schools with the aim of equipping children with practical knowledge on how to live with ,

The plan, which includes involvement of parents along with providers, will highlight the risks of Type II diabetes to children and prepare them to manage the disease on their own effectively.

Dr Mahmoud Fikri, CEO for Health Policies Affairs and Chairman of National Diabetes Board, Ministry of Health, described the campaign as essential to the well-being of future generations.

The programme, which is part of the National Diabetic Strategy, gives practical advice on ways to avoid the disease through changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle.

It also aims at showing students and parents that while diabetes is a real threat, the risk of being affected by the disease can be dramatically reduced by following a few simple guidelines.

Children in 10 schools that are taking part currently will be given pedometers that will measure their daily 
exercise routine.

“School nurses will monitor the usage of this equipment and children who do not meet the set target will be encouraged to get involved in more of physical activity and healthy eating,” said Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, member of the National Committee to Combat Diabetes. Besides, 800 children in 8-10 age group have been given questionnaires to assess the dietary and exercising trends in the children.

“We want children with the disease to learn how to effectively manage it themselves especially in settings such as schools where someone may not be able to help them immediately,” Dr Salah Al Badawi, Public Health Consultant and Director of the National Project for Control of Diabetes, said.

“Teaching the child to take care of the disease early is important so that it does not become a compounded health problem later in life,” he added.

Sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis and in partnership with the Ministries of Health and Education, a total of 120 nurses and teachers representing 10 schools have been trained to educate and demonstrate management, lifestyle, and required nutrition to prevent the disease.

“These activities are aimed at raising awareness of Type II diabetes within our educational system, and in turn protect the generations to come. Supplying our youth with adequate information and advice can make a real difference in our aim to change the current unhealthy lifestyle they are leading,” said Dr Ossama Alalla, Physical Activity Specialist, School Activity Department, Ministry of Education.

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