Diabetes and physical activity in school.School Nurse News 2004; 21(3):12-6SN
Physical activity and exercise are critical components of diabetes management. Everyone can benefit from regular exercise, but it is even more important for a student with diabetes. In addition to maintaining cardiovascular fitness and controlling weight, physical activity can help to lower blood glucose levels and increase insulin sensitivity. With the nearly epidemic incidence of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes in youth, physical education should be part of the school day for all children. Students with diabetes should participate fully in physical education classes and team sports. To maintain blood glucose levels within their target ranges during exercise, students with type 1 diabetes will make adjustments in their insulin and food intake. To prevent hypoglycemia, they also will need to check their blood glucose levels more frequently while engaging in physical activity. Physical education instructors and sports coaches must be able to recognize and assist with the treatment of hypoglycemia. A quick-acting source of glucose and the student's glucose meter should always be available, along with water. The student's Diabetes Medical Management Plan, nursing care plan, 504 Plan, IEP, or other education plan should include specific instructions.