Feel good about yourself.
Get help to deal with the
ups and downs of diabetes.
Seek support from other
teens and take action to
manage your diabetes —
one step at a time.
and your diabetes:
talk to others,
involve your family,
and health care
Take Charge! Find out how
Take it one step at a time!
Many teens like you deal with diabetes everyday. Most of the time, it’s not a
problem, you just deal with it. But sometimes, you may just want it to go away.
Do you ever…
- Ask “why me?”
- Think you’re the only one who feels sad, mad, alone, afraid, or different?
- Get tired of others teasing you if you are overweight?
- Blame yourself or your family for your diabetes?
All of these feelings are normal. Lots of teens who have diabetes feel the same way.
It’s okay to get angry, feel sad, or think you’re different every now and then.
But then you need to take charge and do something to feel better.
Everyone feels down sometimes. You are not alone.
Reach out for help. Talk to
someone in your family or where you
worship, a friend, a school counselor,
teacher, or your doctor or diabetes educator. It might help to write down your feelings in a
journal. If you still feel down or sad, ask your parents
to help you find a counselor.
It is okay to ask for help.
There are many people
who care about you and want to help you stay
healthy and happy. Your health care team
(diabetes educator, dietitian, doctor, nurse,
psychologist, and social worker) can help you
learn how to make healthy food choices, be
more active, and feel good about yourself.
Stay in touch with them. Let your health
care team know how you feel and what
Let your school know what’s up
You or your parents need to give the school nurse, teacher, or other
school staff a copy of your diabetes care plan. Let people at your school
know you have diabetes and that you need to eat healthy foods, eat
your meals, take your medicine on time, and be physically active.
Don’t let diabetes stop you from joining in school activities. You can
do all the things your friends do and then some!
Mom, Dad, other
get with it!
It’s easier to manage diabetes
when the whole family works at it
with you. So…
- Ask your family to choose the same healthy foods you eat—fruits and vegetables; whole
grain breads; and low-fat meats, milk, and cheese. Ask them to
keep healthy foods in the house and not tempt you with cookies, cake, candy, or regular soda.
- Get everyone moving by being more physically active. Play hard. Shoot hoops, throw
a ball, ride bikes, or go for a walk — together. Being active can also help you relax and lower stress.
What’s healthy for you is healthy for everyone in your family.
Want to meet other teens who feel like you do?
- Programs and support groups
for teens with diabetes can
be found in clinics, health
centers, or hospitals. Ask your
diabetes educator or doctor
for help to find one that works
- Head to a diabetes or weight
loss summer camp. You will do
all the things that other
campers do: swim, hike, dance,
and more. But the best part
is that everyone has
diabetes or is there to
lose weight, just like
you. Some groups may
have funds to help pay
for teens to attend summer
- Find a pen pal or email buddy.
Sometimes it is good to share
how you feel about having
diabetes with someone else.
- Check out the resources at the
end of this tip sheet.
Still my friend?
Ever worry that your friends may have
wrong ideas about diabetes?
- Tell them that you have diabetes. You
don’t have to keep it to yourself. The
more people know about diabetes, the
more they will understand. Explain that your body needs help to use
the food you eat.
- Be sure everyone knows that no one can catch diabetes from you.
- Good friends help each other out. They understand your needs and
offer support. Hang on to friends who help you make healthy food
choices when you are eating out.
Ever have kids make fun of you about your
diabetes or weight?
Teasing hurts. The best thing is to just walk away.
talk to someone…write down your feelings in a journal…write to a pen pal…email a buddy…stay in touch
It’s time for YOU to do something
about your diabetes care.
- Set goals for what you will do. Start small and work your way up. For example: “I will cut down on regular soda and drink water instead.” When that’s going well…take the next step. Add another goal—“I will dance or bike ride a couple of times a week.” Then add a new goal—“I will eat smaller servings of cookies, burgers, and fries.”
- Try to make each new goal just a bit harder. After you shoot hoops twice a week, try adding another activity on three other days. Raise the goal until you reach a level that works for you.
- Avoid goals that will be too hard to meet. For example, rather than saying you’ll never eat a burger or a candy bar again, say you’ll only eat one a week.
- Tell your family or friends about your goals.
Maybe they’ll be active with you or help out some
- Reward yourself when you reach each goal. Keep in mind that rewards can be anything—not just food. You do not have to reach all your goals at once. Start with one or two, then add more.
Write down your top three goals—use the chart on the back page!
Write down your
Top 3 Goals
Choose goals that you really can meet. Put in
the date when you set the goal and when you met it.
Date set: Date met:
Date set: Date met:
Date set: Date met:
Take it one step at a time.
Make healthy food choices, be more active,
and work towards a healthy weight. Soon
you’ll see progress and feel great.
Learn more! Check out…
National Diabetes Education Program
for free copies of other tip sheets for teens:
- What is Diabetes?
- Stay at a Healthy Weight
- Be Active
- Make Healthy Food Choices
- Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
www.YourDiabetesInfo.org • 1-888-693-NDEP
Camps for young people with diabetes
Parks and Recreation Youth Programs where you live
Type the name of your town or city followed by “parks and
recreation youth programs” into an online search engine.
American Diabetes Association (ADA) for help to
manage diabetes www.diabetes.org/planetD
- Local ADA: www.diabetes.org/local or 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383)
- Write to ADA’s Diabetes Forecast Pen Pal Coordinator: P.O. Box 675, Gainesville, VA 20156
American Dietetic Association to find a dietitian near
you www.eatright.org • 1-800-366-1655
Bam! Body and Mind website for ten tips to help you
keep your cool
Children With Diabetes website for pen pals and more for
kids and families with diabetes www.childrenwithdiabetes.com
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
International for pen pals and help to manage diabetes
www.jdrf.org • 1-800-223-1138
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse for
more about diabetes www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov
WIN – Weight-control Information Network for weight
- Take Charge of Your Health! A Teenager’s Guide to Better Health
Special thanks to the teens who helped create this tip sheet
Francine Kaufman, M.D., Head, Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and Janet Silverstein, M.D., Professor and Chief, Pediatric
Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
reviewed this material for technical accuracy.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the support of more than 200 partner organizations. www.YourDiabetesInfo.org or 1-888-693-NDEP
Revised November 2007 NIH Publication No. 08-5558 NDEP-81
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