“Promoting Youth Health” was the framework of a successful diabetes conference hosted at Rambam Health Care Campus, in Haifa, on Wednesday, November 16, honoring World Diabetes Day. 350 Israeli teens of different backgrounds from cities, towns, and villages across the country took part.
Jewish and Arab 11th– and 12th–graders, taking medical and health courses from fifteen cities, towns, and villages across the length and breadth of the country, participated in the conference at Rambam HCC, which focused on building diabetes awareness among Israeli youth.
World Diabetes Day was established in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization as part of their mission to create a greater awareness of the disease. Hence, when Rambam HCC planned a conference to educate local youth, November 16 was the obvious day of choice.
Appropriately titled “Promoting Youth Health ‘Ambassadors 365’”, the conference aimed to educate and create awareness among youth regarding the causes and impact of diabetes. Educators and students exchanged ideas – preventing and treating diabetes is an endeavor that requires cooperation from both sides. Awareness and lifestyle changes can ultimately reduce one’s risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.
Rambam HCC has created multiple initiatives over the years to encourage and train Israel’s multicultural youth to become the next generation of care workers. The youth of today are the ambassadors of tomorrow. A growing number of Israeli high schools, across all sectors, offer a ‘medical-and-health’ curriculum; from Majdal Shams to Ramat HaSharon, from the Gilboa to Deir Hanna, from Rishon LeZion, Akko and Shfaram, and many other locations in-between.
During yesterday’s conference, the use of the latest technologies was explained and demonstrated by Rambam HCC practitioners: doctors, nurses, and dieticians, all experts in the field of diabetes. Two short, thought-provoking movies, which answered many diabetes and lifestyle-related questions, held the rapt attention of the teens. Participants also shared true stories about being diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or use it as efficiently as it should. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pancreas. Once diagnosed, managing the disease involves regularly checking blood sugar levels and dietary changes. However, careful attention must be paid to other issues, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and physical activity. Disease complications include damage to the kidneys, vision, and blood circulation. You can manage your diabetes and live a long and healthy life by caring for yourself.
More than five hundred million people worldwide have diabetes; this figure is expected to reach seven hundred and fifty million people by 2035. Diabetes is more prevalent among men than women. Three of every four diabetics live in third-world countries, and figures show that someone dies from diabetes and related complications every 5 seconds.
The conference was organized by diabetes nurse specialists Rachel Shental and Milena Levi. They summed up the day by saying: “We believe that today’s youth are tomorrow’s future, and this is why we must ‘invest’ in them. Our message is: together with our local schools, the Department of Education, and all our partners, we can impact the health of our youth, both in the present and in the future.”
Professor Naim Shehadeh is the director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center of Excellence at Rambam. The most advanced technologies and techniques in the field are used in the treatments and tests performed there. The vision of the institute is, “Prevent and cure diabetes and obesity.”
Are you at risk of developing diabetes? Take a short assessment test (in English) on the Israel Defense Force website here.
Where and how to inject insulin? Rambam diabetes nurse,
Rachel Shental, demonstrates how it’s done.
Photography: Rambam HCC