Advocates stress importance of diabetes info for children
Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
At only three years old, Nathan Nicholson, a pre-kindergarten student at Stella Maris Preparatory School in St Andrew is already educated about diabetes and his diet, having been diagnosed with the disease only a week after his first birthday.
Chelsa Halliman, Nathan's mother spoke with The Gleaner yesterday on the grounds of the Stella Maris Preparatory School as the institution marked World Diabetes Day.
"My greatest challenge is making sure his blood sugar doesn't get too low or too high. At nights I will worry about him probably going into a coma as a result of his sugar being too low or high," she said.
"In terms of dieting, I speak to him now so he has a basic idea in terms of what to eat and what not to eat. What's good is that he doesn't really pressure me about things that other children eat because he understands a little about his situation," Halliman added.
Halliman went on to note that she has also learnt a few things herself in relation to dieting and exercising in order to keep her blood sugar at a regular level.
Celebrity chef and diabetes education advocate Charles Mattocks, who coordinated the event at the school, stressed the importance of being educated on diabetes from an early age.
Diabetes taking over
"It's very important because diabetes is taking over the country and if these children don't learn about it, then they may end up being the next casualties of diabetes. They need to learn in order to educate themselves and their families," he told The Gleaner.
"I'm a Type C diabetic myself. This is my cause and this is what I fight for. The feedback from the children has also been amazing. We saw the young kids taking part in various activities such as exercising and cooking today, and they are really excited about what's going on. We are hoping that we can continue to get this type of support for what we are doing," Mattocks added.
He further noted that he plans on expanding this initiative next year.
"We are doing something like this, but we want to do an actual diabetes conference; we want to bring doctors, lawyers, educators, nutritionists and people from all over the world for two days to teach them about diabetes and the importance of staying healthy," Mattocks said.