Type 2 and Prediabetes typically occur in midlife when lifestyle habits are well established and Diabetes Ireland recognise that making changes can be difficult especially when it involves food intake and being more active. Diabetes SMART is designed with these challenges in mind.
Up to 1,000 individuals receive a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes each month in Ireland and thousands more are told by their GP to go away and change their diet and lifestyle to help reduce their blood glucose reading (Prediabetes) and avoid getting Type 2. We all need to learn the principles of healthy eating and physical activity guidelines and how to put these into practice to prevent future diabetes complications. Additionally the 200,000 people living with diabetes need regular reminding and skills updating. Diabetes Ireland took on this knowledge & skill challenge, working with Trinity College, Dublin and developed Diabetes Smart, a 55 minute online series of videos, quizzes and visual tools that people can watch and participate in, from the comfort of their own homes.
Diabetes SMART is divided into 5 modules that explain: Diabetes (5 minutes); Healthy Eating (20 minutes); Exercise(10 minutes), Diabetes Medications (10 minutes) and Complications (10 minutes). A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming and home learning in bite-size chunks can be the ideal environment to allow a person to accept their diagnosis and plan the necessary changes. It is a completely confidential course.
“Many people want to learn at their own pace. Diabetes SMART allows people to dip in and out at their own pace thereby accumulating knowledge in bite-sizes which will make the period of changing to a healthier lifestyle easier. You do not to complete it all at once” comments Dr Anna Clarke, who was involved in the design and content of this project. Dr Clarke suggests that family members and the 1 million people at risk of type 2 diabetes due to poor lifestyle behaviours would benefit greatly from taking the course. “It will empower them to be able to understand the challenge of living with diabetes and may motivate them to take proactive steps to protect their own health.” adds Dr Clarke.
Stan from Dublin attended our education course called CODE and later took the online SMART course to deepen his learning “The online course is a great reminder for me to watch my carbohydrate portion sizes and to eat more vegetables! SMART is a reminder in general of all that I learnt on the CODE course.” comments Stan.
Following is a snapshot of what you will experience by taking the Diabetes SMART course:
- Visuals of carbohydrate food portion sizes using everyday utensils to help you get the portions right for your plate.
- A visual quiz to test your knowledge on what foods affect blood glucose. Nobody can see your answers and you can retake the quiz.
- Tips to reduce portion sizes, dine out healthily, read a food label and shop wisely. You can rewind all sections and view again.
- You can check your starting fitness levels and be guided on how long to exercise for and what exercise is right for you. View videos on warm-up exercises and prepare yourself for barriers that may stop us exercising despite our good intentions.
- Information on your medications, how they work and side-effects. Vital information for those who drive.
- Hypo’s are explained clearly, symptoms, possible causes and steps for the management of hypo’s.
- How diabetes affects various parts of the body and what to do to avoid these health complications.
“I visit the diabetic clinic at my GP’s twice a year and seem to always forget to ask one or two questions until after leaving the surgery! Since taking the SMART course, I find myself going back onto the computer at home to listen to parts of the course again. It is a wonderful source of information for me and is at my fingertips at home and free” comments Mary from Galway.
Diabetes Smart can be viewed at www.diabetes.ie under the Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes section on the homepage
The Diabetes Smart educational programme was supported by Trinity College and National Lottery Funds.