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Supporting physical development in early childhood
Supporting physical development in early childhood

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4.2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious condition that is affecting an increasing number of children. Having diabetes means that the body does not produce enough insulin (a chemical messenger) which is necessary to regulate the level of sugar in the body.

This means that the body cannot keep the blood sugar level within the normal limits. Therefore, in some cases, children require an injection of insulin to help keep their blood sugar level within normal limits. The level of sugar in the blood is affected by the amount of sugar or carbohydrate that is eaten. The more sugar that is taken in, the more insulin is required to use up the excess sugar.

Another factor that can impact the balance between sugar and insulin intake, is the amount of physical activity undertaken. Sugar levels in the body can go down when physical activity is taken.

Therefore, in order to keep children with diabetes healthy and well, there needs to be a careful balance between the amount of carbohydrate that is eaten, the amount of insulin that is given and the amount of physical activity that is taken. As with all children, it is important that children with diabetes are encouraged to take part in physical activity.

Watch Video 4 in which Chris Pennell, a professional rugby player who developed type 1 diabetes as a teenager, talks about the importance of physical activity for children with type 1 diabetes.

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Video 4
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It is especially important that practitioners and parents work together to plan how to support children with diabetes to take part in physical activity.