Athletic Activity for Diabetic Children

Author: Shannon Miller

Diabetic child prepares for athletic activity

Athletic activity is good for all children – especially for diabetic children.

It is possible that their blood glucose levels can drop during or after engaging in physical activity; it’s important to be aware of this and to know how to deal with this when the time comes. 

Check out the tips below for ensuring that your child has safe and enjoyable experiences on the field! 

  • Get the facts!  Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about how to prepare your child for engaging in physical activity and about what to do when your child’s blood glucose levels go up or down in response to such activity.
  • Share the facts!  Share the information that you get from the doctor with your child’s coach(es).
  • Snack time!  Because your child is using so much energy, their body may crave a snack that is bigger than normal.  Try something with a lot of protein (i.e. string cheese or a turkey sandwich) as well as an item that has complex carbs (i.e. whole wheat crackers or an apple).
  • Don’t forget!  Your child should check their blood glucose level before they start playing and every 30 minutes during play.  It might be a good idea to get them a special watch so they can set an alarm to remind them to check.  It’s a good idea to keep an eye on blood glucose levels up to 24 hours after the activity has ended, especially if it was particularly vigorous activity.
  • Call it quits.  If your child’s blood glucose is high, they should rest and their urine should be examined for ketones.  If ketones are identified, seek medical attention.
  • Just in case.  In the event that your child experiences severe hypoglycemia, a trained adult should be available to administer glucagon.

TIP:  Safety may come first, but fun comes in close second!  It’s important to take the proper precautions, but it’s also important that your child really enjoy him/herself!

Source: American Diabetes Association website

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