Attitudes to Exercise and Diabetes in Young People


Attitudesto Exercise and Diabetes in Young People

Diabetesis a long-term condition that can have a major effect on the life ofa young person. Diabetes type 1 is becoming more widespread in theUnited Kingdom. In the last one decade, the number of childrendiagnosed with type 1 diabetes has significantly increased (NICE,2015). The National Diabetes Audit conducted in 2014 established thatmore than 26,500 young individuals with diabetes type 1. In moststates around the globe, there has been a surge in the number ofyoung people with diabetes (Childhood &amp Adolescent DiabetesScotland, 2014). While it is not difficult to differentiate betweenyoung people who have diabetes types from those with diabetes type 2,in most cases children and young people, have signs of both types ofdiabetes (NICE, 2015). This condition has been branded hybriddiabetes. Approximately, 5 percent of the people with diabetes in theUnited Kingdom have type 1 diabetes. In diabetes type 1, the humanbody is a not able to produce insulin (Childhood &amp AdolescentDiabetes Scotland, 2014).

Undernormal circumstance the human body breakdown the food that isingested into simple sugars that are absorbed into the bloodstreamfor cellular metabolism (Biddle &amp Mutrie, 2001). The main simplesugar is glucose, which is mainly converted into energy. Insulin isthe hormone that is required for the body to get the glucose into thebloodstream into the cells. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immunecondition in which the body strangely destroys the pancreatic cellsthat secrete insulin (Biddle &amp Mutrie, 2001). Insulin is thehormone that regulates blood sugar in the body and enables the cellsto metabolize the glucose to generate energy.

Attitudesto Exercise and Diabetes in Young people

Youngpeople with type 1 diabetes, therefore, need to continuously injectinsulin in order to stay alive. This means that each day a person hasto balances the between the amount of food ingested, the insulin toinject in the body and the exercise to take in order to have a safebold sugar level (Childhood &amp Adolescent Diabetes Scotland,2014). This can be extremely difficult for young people and theircaregivers. In addition, such young people will need to access theright equipment to monitor their glucose level. It is evident thatthe number of young people will continue to increase (NICE, 2015).Appropriate management of diabetes is paramount in order to regulatethe glucose level in the bloodstream and alleviate the long-termcomplexities (Childhood &amp Adolescent Diabetes Scotland, 2014). Healthcare experts have recommended that healthcare professionalshandling young people with diabetes need to initiate measures toempower children and families to be in a position to monitor thelevel of glucose in the bloodstream at all times (NICE, 2015). Youngpeople also need to be advised on how to reduce the gravity of thecondition by consuming food that does not make the situation worseand participation in physical activities.


Youngpeople with type 1 diabetes are at an increased threat of developingmicrovascular difficulties and cardiovascular ailments. Studies haveshowed that signs of diseases such as diabetic nephropathy,retinopathy, atherosclerotic, and are detected in early childhood(Nagi et al.2005). The main risk for developing the diseases and conditionsmentioned above are the absence of adequate glycemic control, highblood pressure, dyslipidemia, and most importantly physicalinactivity (NICE, 2015). All the diseases mentioned above can beaverted and prevented by adhering to a balanced diet that is apt foryoung children with type1 diabetes, strict compliance with insulinadministration and maintain an active lifestyle (NICE, 2015).

Inspite of the health benefits of participating in moderate physicalactivities on a regular basis, a majority of the youths do not alwaysadhere to the suggestions given by healthcare professionals(Childhood &amp Adolescent Diabetes Scotland, 2014). Bearing in mindthat physical activities and cardiovascular and respiratory fitnesstend to diminish with age, encouraging and offering opportunities forparticipating in physical activities since childhood may enhance themaintenance of an active way of life into adulthood. Moderatephysical activities play a crucial role in improving fasting bloodglucose levels and insulin sensitivity, especially in young peoplewith diabetes type 1 (Childhood &amp Adolescent Diabetes Scotland,2014).

Aerobicphysical activities use muscle and liver glycogen, and various energyresources in the body based o the nature and intensity of thephysical activities. To be in a position to yield the benefitsmentioned above, it is important for young people with diabetes type1 engages in moderate physical exercise childhood (Nagi etal. 2005).

Therole of the learning institution is very essential in encouraginginvolvement in physical activities and changing the attitude of theyoung people with diabetes type 1. Many young people engage in sportsat home with comrades, but it is in learning institutions sportslesson that majority of them are introduced to a broad range ofphysical activities (Nagi et al.2005). Even though it is a rare phenomenon, there are still someyoung people who indicate that they were discouraged or disallowed toparticipate in game lessons because of the diabetic condition. Suchevents contribute immensely to the reduction in self-worth andconfidence that may take a great deal of time to correct (Nagi etal. 2005). The British DiabeticAssociation has been very pivotal in improving knowledge of andattitudes towards diabetes in learning institutions.

Asa child develops into the teenage years, physical activities assumeas a more ritualized and vital position in daily life Nonetheless,there is a general trend of young people reducing their participationin physical activities as children grow older (Nagi etal. 2005). There is an increasingtemptation for young people with diabetes type 1 to lose contact withordinary physical activities because of the burden of extrapreparation and precautions that such individuals must take inadvance. Even so, a growing number of young people with diabetes type1are sufficiently well organized and motivated to incorporatephysical activities into their daily routine, although majority needextra motivation and encouragement (Nagi etal. 2005).

Majorityof young people who are insufficiently convinced of the importanceand benefits of physical activities when advised within a somewhatunfriendly and hierarchical environment of a healthcare setting feelmore at ease in the atmosphere where their peers also have diabetesand fully understand how to deal with diabetic conditions that mayarise (Ryninks, et al..2015).

Ryninks,et al.(2015)established that young people with diabetes type 1 felt thatparticipating in physical activities played a huge role in helpingthem manage their diabetic condition. Many students were reported tohave stated that exercising conferred beneficial physical andpsychological effects on their bodies. Even so, majority of thestudents in Ryninks et al. (2015) study cited lack of understandingand knowledge among members of the schools staff, especially physicaleducation teachers and other students about their diabetic condition,as some of the most challenging aspects that hamper theirparticipation in exercises. Ryninks et al. (2015) survey also notedthat students highlighted the need for the provision of training andinformation for learning institutions, as well as increased inputfrom healthcare professionals on how to better manage theirconditions when they are participating in various exercises. Somestudents indicated that although the diabetic conditions may havemomentous effects on their lives, adequate preparation, encouragementand support from teachers, parents and their peers can make life goas normal.


Theresults from Ryninkset al. (2015) study underline variety of aspects especially pertinentto parents, teachers and healthcare professionals taking care ofyoung people with diabetes. It is evident that majority of youngpeople are well aware of the health benefits that physical exerciseconfers and contribution towards managing their diabetes. Otherstudies show that moderate physical exercises are connected withbetter glucose control (glycaemic control in children and youngpeople with diabetes type 1. Numerous studies have also revealed thatapart from the health benefits such as reduction of risk tocardiovascular ailments, reduction of overweight, physical exercisesare also linked with positive mental health. Mental well-being leadsto enhanced quality of life and improves self-worth, which areimportant in building a positive attitude towards the diabeticcondition.


Biddle,S. and Mutrie, N. (2001). Psychology of Physical Activity: Determinants, Well-being, andInterventions. PsychologyPress.

Childhood&amp Adolescent.Diabetes Scotland. (2014). SupportingChildren and Young People with Type 1 Diabetes in Education.Retrieved from:

Nagi,D., &amp John Wiley &amp Sons. (2005). Exercise and sport indiabetes. Chichester, England: Wiley.

NICE.(2015).Diabetes (type 1 and type 2) in children and young people: diagnosisand management. Retrievedfrom:

Ryninks,K., Sutton, E., Thomas E, Jago, R., Shield J.P.H, Burren C.P. (2015).Attitudesto Exercise and Diabetes in Young People with Type 1 DiabetesMellitus: AQualitative Analysis. PLoS ONE 10(10):