Since Geetha Aingaran was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes five years ago, she’s had to carefully track the number of carbs she consumes every single day.
Recently, however, a new suite of print and online resources, including a mobile application has made the job of managing her condition much easier. Developed by the Canadian Diabetes Association with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Diabetes GPS resources are now available online at
www.diabetesgps.ca and as an app for iPhones, BlackBerrys and android phones.
“The Diabetes GPS app is a great resource, as it allows me to measure the amount of carbs I am eating at each meal, so I can know how much insulin to inject,” says Ms. Aingaran, 31. “I also love how you can write down your grocery list on it.”
People with diabetes can track their carb and food intake using information from Health Canada’s Nutrient File, a database listing the calories, fat, carbs, sodium and other nutrients found in more than 5,000 foods and beverages. For easy shopping, they can download recipes, with an accompanying ingredient list. Diabetes GPS also helps to identify foods that have optimal Glycemic Index (GI) ratings, such as sweet potatoes, lentils and whole-grain cereals and breads.
“The person living with diabetes is the most important part of the health-care team, and we know that making small changes to increase physical activity and making better food choices can make a big difference.”
Leanne Morgan is the senior manager of community programs and partnerships at the Canadian Diabetes Association
Last spring, the Canadian Diabetes Association tested the resources at six public education events across Canada, including Vancouver, Surrey, Windsor, Toronto and Halifax. “Our mid-point evaluation results have shown that exposure to the GPS materials at our community pilots have had a positive impact on people’s belief in their ability to manage their diabetes. Many have reported increased confidence in their self-management and increased quality of life,” says Leanne Morgan, senior manager of community programs and partnerships at the Canadian Diabetes Association.
Diabetes GPS is intended for those who have a higher risk of developing diabetes, such as in the Chinese, South Asian and African/Caribbean communities. Online, users can watch cooking videos to learn how to prepare healthy, tasty, low-carb and low-fat recipes, such as curried beef or butter chicken.
In addition to English and French, print resources and online content at www.diabetesgps.ca are available in traditional and simplified Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi and Tamil. It is also expected to be offered in Urdu by the end of 2012. Brochures can be downloaded with tips on healthy eating, diabetes prevention and managing cholesterol, blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease, which are potentially life-threatening complications of diabetes. “The person living with diabetes is the most important part of the health-care team, and we know that making small changes to increase physical activity and making better food choices can make a big difference,” says Ms. Morgan.
For more information, visit www.diabetesgps.ca.
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