Fort Berthold Diabetes Program
Have You Checked your Childs Blood Sugar Lately?
By Komiko Garcia- Health Education Tech
When the topic of type 2 diabetes is mentioned, most people think of middle aged or elderly. Unfortunately that is not entirely true, there is a rise in the number of our children developing type 2 diabetes. One of the main goals of the Fort Berthold Diabetes Program is diabetes prevention with the youth of the Fort Berthold Reservation.
The diabetes team visits each school on Fort Berthold in the fall to provide education to grades K-11th. The team goes over education about nutrition, limiting screen time, and the importance of physical activity and then engaging the students in a fun activity pertaining to the information they just learned. With the team going into the schools every year the students have come to understand diabetes more and the toll excess sugar can have on our bodies. With the pandemic this year it was a bit of a challenge providing education, but that didn’t stop the diabetes program. Instead, they turned to a virtual point and sent a video of the education and a link to the activity for each teacher to show to their students.
Another service the team provides is blood sugar screening for all students. Come January the team starts to go into each school to measure height and weight of every student grade k-11th. And for the students with a signed permission slip will reviewed an A1C check. An A1C is a simple test that tells what the person’s average blood sugar has been for the past 3 months. A normal level is below 5.7%. While a level 5.7%-6.4% is considered the “pre-diabetes stage”. A 6.5% indicates diabetes. The higher the A1C level the greater the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
There are a couple myths when it comes to children and diabetes. Example, “My child is too young for diabetes.” And “My child is not overweight so they can’t get it.” These are the two main myths we hear when asking for permission slips to screen children’s A1C. Diabetes unfortunately does not have an age limit. Yes it is more commonly seen in older adults, but is not limited to. In 2019, the diabetes team screened 1,458 students reservation wide (Mandaree, Twin Buttes, New Town, White Shield, Parshall). Of those students, 66 of them had an elevated A1C 5.7% or higher. There are students who are within the normal BMI percentile and still have an elevated A1C or diagnosed diabetes.
The diabetes program is currently screening all the students on Fort Berthold Reservation. For those students with a signed permission slip are also getting their A1C done which does consist of a finger poke. The techs are actively calling parents to get consent for the screening if a signed slip was not returned for the student. Prevention is key. If we can catch a rising A1C level before it gets to the point of being diagnosed diabetic then all the better. The prediabetes stage is the time to make healthier lifestyle choices for our children. Whether it be increasing physical activity or eating healthier.
You can print the consent form from our website https://www.fortbertholddiabetes.com/forms/
Please email to [email protected] , Fax to 701-627-3913, or you can also drop off at our Main Building or your child’s school front office. If you have any questions please feel free to call our office and speak to any of our Health Education Techs at 701-627-7931.