Diabetes Education – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

When it comes to nutrition education, one size doesn’t fit all. This is especially true for teaching people about diabetes.

As educators, we have to think about who we’re teaching:

  • Are they newly-diagnosed?
    • There’s a lot to learn.
    • They may be in denial, scared, motivated, overwhelmed, or all of the above.
  • Are they “veteran” patients?
    • They may think they know everything, but their numbers show otherwise.
    • Good habits can slip during times of stress (or a pandemic).
    • There’s always something new to learn.
  • Do they have pre-diabetes?
    • They may be motivated to do what they can to avoid or delay diabetes.
  • Are they caregivers or family members of someone who has diabetes?
    • They may want to learn all they can to help their loved one.
    • They may resent having to make changes to accommodate the person with diabetes.

We also have to consider things like motivation level and learning style. So you can see that one size definitely does not fit all!

Our 12 Lessons of Diabetes Program can help. We’ve put together a dozen PowerPoint presentations that can be used in different ways depending on who you’re teaching and what they need to learn. The 12 topics are:

  1. Diabetes basics
  2. Goal setting
  3. Know your numbers (A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol)
  4. Weight management
  5. Exercise
  6. Healthy eating
  7. Importance of breakfast
  8. Diabetes plate
  9. Carb counting and label reading
  10. Food shopping
  11. Snacks
  12. Sugar substitutes

You could use the program to offer a 12-part series. By the end, your clients will learn everything they need to live a healthy life with diabetes. Presenting information in “chunks” makes it less overwhelming. In between sessions, there’s time to digest the information and put it to use in the real world.

For clients who don’t need the entire program, you can pick and choose which sessions will be most beneficial. If they are resistant to learning, letting them choose what to cover might help.

Most importantly, the information in our 12 Lessons is always presented in a light-hearted, positive, and supportive way.

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

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updated on 10-27-2020