Internet education beneficial for young type 1 diabetes patients

Tue, 23 Apr 2013
A new study suggests that young people with type 1 diabetes can benefit from internet-based education programs.

The research, published online in the journal Diabetes Care, found that web-based interventions for young type 1 diabetes patients transitioning to adolescence result in improved health outcomes.

Margaret Grey, from the Yale University School of Nursing in the US, and colleagues randomised 320 young type 1 diabetics (aged 11-14 years) to one of two internet-based psycho-educational intervention programs: TeenCope or Managing Diabetes .

Data were collected at baseline and after 3, 6, and 12 months online. After a year, the participants were invited to join the other program, and follow-up data were collected at 18 months.

The results showed that youth in both groups had stable quality of life (QOL) and minimal increases in HbA1c levels over the 12 months, but there were no significant differences in these primary outcomes between the two groups.

But after 18 months, the researchers found that youth who completed both interventions had significantly lower HbA1c; higher QOL, social acceptance, and self-efficacy; as well as lower perceived stress and diabetes family conflict, compared with those who completed only one program.

They concluded that "internet interventions for youth with type 1 diabetes transitioning to adolescence result in improved outcomes, but completion of both programs was better than only one", indicating that young diabetic sufferers require both diabetes management education and behavioural interventions.

"Delivering these programs via the internet represents an efficient way to reach youth and improve outcomes," they added.
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