The paediatric diabetes healthcare team at the Children’s Hospital for Wales cares for approximately 200 children and young people with type 1 diabetes (T1D), aged from one to 18 years. Young people with T1D are at increased risk of psychological difficulties. Depression, weight and shape concerns, body dissatisfaction, higher BMI, adolescence and gender have been identified as predictors of disordered eating behaviours (DEBs) in individuals with T1D. Additionally, there is a greater incidence and persistence of DEBs in individuals with T1D, perhaps owing to the need for food monitoring and carbohydrate counting. DEB features include poor self-esteem, body image dissatisfaction, fear of gaining weight and purging unwanted calories. Young people with T1D can purge calories by insulin restriction or omission, resulting in glycosuria. T1D and DEBs increase the risk of poor health outcomes, such as poor metabolic control, increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis and microvascular complications. Diabetes clinicians need be aware of the potential warning signs, plus assessment and treatment options. A pilot psycho-education workshop was designed for parents of children with T1D to raise awareness of DEBs, self-esteem and body image issues in young people and give them tools to support their children/adolescents.
Back to the top