Published on 01/14/04

New CD makes learning about diabetes easy, fun

By Morgan Roan
University of Georgia

A new CD-ROM, "Focus on Diabetes," can help people learn at their own pace about diabetes and how to manage it.

The CD was originally developed for county extension agents to be trained about diabetes, said Connie Crawley, an Extension Service nutrition and health specialist with the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

However, the agents suggested a similar CD would be a good tool to educate the community.

The new interactive CD tells all about managing diabetes. Nine lessons show how to plan meals, exercise, take medications, monitor blood sugar, prevent complications and cope with the disease. There's even a lesson on relatives' common concerns.

The program is formatted somewhat like a Web page. "It contains a series of fun activities," Crawley said.

"The program uses three characters that represent the three types of diabetes, Type-1, Type-2 and gestational," she said. "The viewer can learn about the different types of diabetes and how they are managed by reading and answering questions related to each of the characters."

The animated characters and simple language make the CD fun and easy to understand.

You can buy the CD-ROM for $15 or borrow one for a small fee from the county office of the UGA Extension Service, Crawley said.

To buy one, send a check made out to the UGA Cooperative Extension Service with a request for the "Focus on Diabetes" CD to Agricultural Business Office, 215 Conner Hall, Athens, GA 30602.

"The project took one year to create. It will be a great educational source to learn about diabetes," Crawley said.

Diabetes affects more than 18 million people in the United States. About 13 million people have been diagnosed with it. An estimated 5.2 million don't know they have it.

The disease causes high blood sugar levels due to a lack of insulin or the body's inability to use insulin effectively. Insulin breaks down sugar and starches into energy the body uses to function normally.

No one knows the exact cause of diabetes. Both environmental factors and genetics, though, appear to play a role in it.

(Morgan Roan is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Morgan Roan is a student writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.