High cost of care may lead to worse condition for some diabetics and their families

Caring for a child with type 1 diabetes is often extremely expensive. Caregivers must pay for frequent doctor visits, testing supplies and specific food items. However, a new study has found that all of this expense may impair the ability of families to supply healthy food for their children, which often leads to health complications.

Families who are hungry, use food banks and food stamps or worry about paying for groceries are considered food insecure. The results of the study, which were published in The Journal of Pediatrics, indicate that as many as 22 percent of families who have at least one child with type 1 diabetes fall into this category.

A team of researchers from Dalhousie University interviewed nearly 200 families with diabetic children for a period of 16 months. Almost all families studied received some type of financial assistance for diabetes care. Additionally, many families reported that some members occasionally eat less food so that the diabetic child could have enough to eat.

"A review of financial support available to families is needed," said Elizabeth Cummings, who led the study. "Improvement of support may result in fewer hospitalizations and thus lower health care costs."

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