Diabetes College For Kids

Every year more and more children are diagnosed with diabetes. In fact, some medical professionals say it's an epidemic.  A group of East Texas kids are taking steps to control their diabetes.

"I've had shots all my life and had the pump a few years," says Kristen Canup, 11 years old.

Kristen has been diabetic since she was just a year old.   At Diabetes College she's getting pointers on controlling the disease, while still having fun.

"We learned how to key in our carbs and we just got to visit with all of the other diabetes which was pretty fun because regularly you don't see a lot of diabetics, it was fun," says Kristen.

Dr. Meg Reitmeyer with Trinity Clinic says diabetes in children is on the rise.

"We have one the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease compared to the rest of Texas," says Dr. Rietmeyer.

She says, unlike type 1 diabetes which is not preventable, type 2 is.

"Teach you child as soon as possible to eat healthy and that includes fruits and vegetables. Keep them active, because studies have shown there is a correlation between number of hours of watching TV to weight gain.  And do things together as a family," says Dr. Rietmeyer.

Camp organizers made sure the kids new they were not alone.

"There is a lot of isolation for kids that have diabetes at this age. They have to check there sugars while the other kids are off eating whole pizzas they can't do that. So to know there are other kids like that really boosts their self esteem," says Dr. Reitmeyer.

Eight year old Blake was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December and knows what he wants to learn.

"How to do my grams instead of other people to do that and do the grams so I can learn the math and how many grams to key in," says Blake.

Despite their ages, Blake and Kristin are taking control, to ensure a healthy lives for themselves.

Trinity Mother Frances Health System is hosting another day of Diabetes College on Saturday. It starts at 8 AM at the Wisenbaker Conference Center on East Dawson in Tyler. And it is is free to the public.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com