For years, the words “JDRF” and “exercise” have usually been put together to describe fundraising walks for cure research. That should change in 2017.
For the past three years, JDRF has been partnering with researchers from around the world to develop JDRF PEAK, a program to share information about how to exercise safely with Type 1 diabetes. That collaboration has led to the publication of new guidelines for exercise and blood sugar management based on the best available research on exercise and Type 1 diabetes. Now, JDRF is rolling out the new program in a series of workshops both in the U.S. and in several other countries.
Dr. Aaron Kowalski, JDRF’s Chief Mission Officer, says the organization launched the PEAK program to address a hole in Type 1 diabetes care. He and others found that many doctors were reluctant to push for exercise for people with Type 1 diabetes out of fear of the blood glucose swings that could come with exertion. That left many people with Type 1, and parents of children with Type 1, to use guesswork to manage blood sugar levels during exercise.
“We had done some survey work about unmet needs of Type 1 diabetes…and this was something that came up over and over again,” Dr. Kowalski said in a phone interview with Insulin Nation.
Using grant money from Novo Nordisk and other funding sources, the research team combed through the best research available and discussed exercise with as many experts and end users as possible. Dr. Kowalski said the researchers found there was good information available on exercise and Type 1, but it wasn’t shared widely enough outside of research circles.
JDRF has now created workshops designed to help the Type 1 community access that information. There are two levels of workshops – those geared towards people with Type 1 or who care for people with Type 1 and those geared toward health care professionals. Each program discusses all aspects of diabetes and Type 1 diabetes, from diet to physiology. There are currently 14 programs planned. The eventual goal is to have PEAK programs integrated into each one of JDRF’s summits and available online, Dr. Kowalski said.
Ultimately, Dr. Kowalski said he wants the PEAK program to serve as a reminder to the diabetes community that Type 1 is not a roadblock to physical activity.
“You can give all the examples of the elite athletes with Type 1 you want….but most people are just wanting to be active, and that is absolutely achievable,” he said.
If you would like to see the list of JDRF PEAK summits currently planned, you can click here.
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