Over the past thirty years, the number of adults with type 1 diabetes who are overweight or obese has increased. People with type 1 diabetes are at higher risk of developing other conditions, such as heart disease, which creates further health burdens.
Heart disease is influenced by both lifestyle and diet, so the food choices that young adults make play an important role in their overall health. However, it is unclear what their scope of nutrition knowledge is. We want to know how young Canadian adults living with type 1 diabetes are making their food choices.
A primary focus of nutritional interventions for people living with type 1 diabetes is carbohydrate counting to match their insulin dose. However, the nutritional management of diabetes goes beyond carbohydrate counting. Having the skills and confidence to make healthy food choices that fit into a person’s lifestyle is crucial.
A new concept that is key in making dietary choices is called food literacy. This concept defines a person’s ability to plan, select and prepare meals based on their food- and nutrition-related knowledge. Food literacy includes an individual’s cultural, social and environmental influences; these elements must be considered when educating and promoting food and nutritional choices.
The food environment is complex and creates challenges in making food choices due to information overload. The lack of understating and lack of nutritional education can lead to making poor choices which can contribute to the increasing rate of overweight and obesity in people living with type 1 diabetes. Therefore, food and nutrition education are required for youth and adolescents, especially those transitioning to adulthood and becoming independent of their own dietary choices. Providing the tools to these individuals and having the information accessible can help promote healthy choices. Food literacy may be one missing piece to improve health behaviors and to help in the prevention of comorbidities and complications in people living with type 1 diabetes.
Research initiative to understand how young adults living with type 1 diabetes make food choices
Our research group at McGill University’s School of Human Nutrition wants to know how young adults living with type 1 diabetes make their food choices. We want to gain a better understanding of their ability to plan, manage, select and prepare meals based on different social and environmental factors.
We are currently recruiting volunteers who are between 18 and 29 years old living with or without type 1 diabetes in Canada to participate in our study by answering a questionnaire that takes about 25 minutes to complete. Our goal is to obtain a clear understanding of young adults’ level of food literacy, to then provide appropriate recommendations and targeted interventions to help reduce the risk of chronic conditions in this population.
If you are interested in participating in this study, click here.
To learn more about this study, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is authored by Alexandra Itzkovitz, Vanessa Maggio, Amélie Roy-Fleming, Anne-Sophie Brazeau at the School of Human Nutrition McGill University, Montreal Quebec