Diversity in diabetes

Theme Diet and physical activity

Workstream Clinical diet and physical activity

Status: This project is ongoing

A girl wearing a face mask checks glucose level in blood with device for continuous glucose monitoring

Data from health services has shown that children and young people with diabetes from families with low incomes and from some ethnicities have higher blood sugar levels than average. In the Diversity in diabetes study, we want to find out what types of support could help these children and young people better control their blood sugar and avoid complications.

This project is an early study to develop and test a package of support. The package will aim to improve long-term blood sugar control. This should prevent or slow diabetes complications for these children and young people.

The first part of this project is to identify the barriers and what helps to improve blood sugar control. We’ll give special attention to socio-economic status, culture and ethnicity. Together with patients and their families we will co-design culturally appropriate support packages and understand the practicalities of delivering them in clinic.

We will design the package alongside Bristol and Birmingham-based children and young people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, their families and carers, and healthcare providers. Designing the package with these people should mean it better meets their needs.

Once we have developed the package, we will pilot it in ten other children’s diabetes units before testing it in 40 more centres in England and Wales, in a ‘cluster’ randomised trial. This will help us understand whether it’s acceptable and helpful for these groups.

We will:

  • Look at the existing evidence to understand what’s helped children and young people from the groups we’re interested in control their blood sugar
  • Review the existing evidence to understand how ethnicity, cultural beliefs, dietary differences, education and socio-economic status influence managing diabetes in children
  • Interview children and young people and their carers from relevant ethnic groups to understand how they found being diagnosed and managing diabetes
  • Run focus groups and interviews with children and young people, their carers and other key stakeholders to understand how best to support behaviour change
  • Design the package with children and young people, their carers and healthcare providers
  • Investigate the practicalities of delivering the package
  • Run a pilot trial in other locations to see whether we should progress to a larger, full-scale study