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Children with Diabetes: Focus on Fitness and Nutrition

The third regional Children with Diabetes conference, Focus on Fitness and Nutrition, was held August 29-31, 2003 at the Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. About 300 people participated in the conference, which included two days of sessions for adults, teens, and school-age children. Families came from near and far, with people traveling from as far away as Maine, Florida, and California. Sessions covered topics relating to balancing exercise with healthy diet to appropriate insulin regimens for athletes. Athletes with type 1 diabetes were on hand to discuss their personal stories about the challenges of managing diabetes and the rigors of their chosen sports.

The conference began Friday afternoon with the fifth showing of the CWD Quilt for Life. 357 quilt squares, each hand-sewn and decorated in honor of a person with type 1 diabetes, were shown in the hotel's International Ballroom. Conference participants, as well as adults and children who were simply interested in seeing the quilt first-hand, shared several hours of walking through the quilt aisles. It was truly an emotional experience for many.

Friday evening, the Exhibit Hall opened with a wonderful reception sponsored by Animas. Exhibitors were on hand to demonstrate and discuss their newest products, including new insulin pumps, meters, insulins, data management systems, and sports-related food and beverages. Members of the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association, which supported this conference by providing several of the speakers, were also on hand in the Exhibit Hall to discuss nearly anything relating to exercise and diabetes.

Dr. Richard Rubin, a CWD faculty favorite, opened the conference Saturday morning with a very compassionate and human discussion of the balancing act we all face every day in managing diabetes and all of the other important things in our individual and family lives. Whether it's running a marathon or 10k yourself, or watching your child compete in a football game or dance recital, each activity poses time and energy challenges that tap into our personal resources. Parents who had heard Dr. Rubin speak at previous CWD conferences marveled at the fact that they always learn something new and wonderful each time they hear him.

Hope Warshaw, world-renowned author and speaker, discussed the challenges of eating healthy food in today's fast-food environment, whether we are at school, out with friends, at the mall, or simply at home. Her interactive sessions, one each with the adults, teens, and younger children, provided valuable insight into how we can improve the quality of what we are feeding our bodies and what we teach our children about nutrition. Whether you have diabetes or are a family member, this information has much relevance in our fast-paced, fast-food society!

Bill King, an elite marathon runner who also happens to have type 1 diabetes, shared his views with all age groups on the importance of exercise in diabetes management and overall good health. Bill stressed that sound nutrition, combined with intensive diabetes management (frequent testing), is tremendously important in maximizing an athlete's performance. Whether you are a weekend warrior type athlete or an athlete dedicated to daily practice of your sport, the right combination of carbohydrates, protein, fats, and hydration are critical to keeping blood sugars in range.

Rick Philbin, a Certified Athletic Trainer, continued that discussion in the next general session. He offered a more detailed look at how to exercise while wearing an insulin pump versus taking multiple daily injections. While the components are the same (carbs, hydration, protein, fat), the regimens are quite different.

The teen and school-aged groups were lucky to have an entire faculty contingent working with them! Stephanie Schwartz, Mike Schurig, Melissa Ringley and Natalie Bellini once again led the school-age group (ages 7-11) in fun games and arts-n-crafts with diabetes, food, and exercise themes. Natalie and Melissa further worked with the teen group in a session called "The Top 10 Ways to Sneak in Exercise." Later in the day, Natalie and Rick Philbin led the teens in a discussion about managing blood sugars (and other things!) on game day in a session called "Eating Around Your Sport." At the same time, Richard and Stefan Rubin had a heart-to-heart discussion with the school-aged group called "Fitting it All In - and Being a Kid."

Saturday's food was yummy, indeed, and quite healthy! Carb counts were provided for all food items to minimize the 'guess factor.' Breakfast was sponsored by TheraSense, while snack breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon were sponsored by Deltec. These were great opportunities to re-connect parents and kids, plan for the day, share ideas, and catch up with friends old and new! Lunch was a 90 minute break, and people were encouraged to take a walk outside the hotel and explore the Inner Harbor area with its many shops, restaurants, and wonderful people-watching. Many opted to stay at the hotel and order from the pool-side menu. It was a beautiful afternoon!

Saturday evening, while some took the opportunity to relax in a family atmosphere, the teens were off and running, literally! Natalie Bellini, Brian Foster, and Melissa Ringley led the way, while parents provided additional adult supervision as the teens went out to ESPNZone for good food and good fun. Thank you to the Tull's, Bob Esterhay, Jeff Hitchcock, Pam Burgess, and the Billetdeaux's for being the parental support crew that evening!

Sunday morning, bright and early, everyone gathered for breakfast, sponsored by Novo Nordisk. Sunday's morning sessions, rather than being age-based, were topic-based. Dr. William Quick, Medical Director of Children with Diabetes, discussed the interaction of diabetes medications with exercise. Hope Warshaw led a discussion about managing food choices, while Mike Schurig demonstrated 'Cool Technology for Managing Carbs.' Melissa Ringley, Natalie Bellini, and several teens helped kids burn off energy (and carbs!) while their parents were in morning sessions, while Steph Schwartz worked with the kids who preferred a more arts-n-crafts approach to the morning.

Following a snack break sponsored by Medtronic MiniMed, the conference moved into Athletes Mode. A panel of elite athletes from all over the United States gathered to discuss their views on managing their own type 1 diabetes while training, competing, and performing. Athletes included Bill King (marathon runner), Stefan Rubin (lacrosse player), Zippora Karz (ballerina), Brian Foster (national endurance sport athlete), and Rick Philbin (athletic trainer, basketball player, and weight-trainer). Zippora Karz moderated this most interesting discussion. There were some terrific questions posed to the athletes by the kids!

After the panel discussion, a buffet luncheon sponsored by LifeScan provided just the right venue for transitioning into an afternoon of breakout sessions with the athletes. Zippora Karz led participants in a discussion about healthy diet followed by a movement to music session. Brian Foster and Natalie Bellini held court poolside for those kids and families interested in discussing diabetes management around water sports. Stefan Rubin discussed the challenges of field sports such as lacrosse, soccer, and football (very fitting at the beginning of football season!).

With the conference officially over at 3:00 p.m. and beautiful sunny weather on hand, many families decided to stay and play an extra day. Maryland, and particularly the Chesapeake Bay area, is famous for blue crabs with Old Bay seasoning, and conference participants took advantage of it! Sunday evening, 35 conference participants headed out for a traditional Maryland crab dinner together. Other families enjoyed visiting the world-famous Inner Harbor Aquarium, or enjoyed a paddle-boat ride… while still others hopped on the water taxis for short rides to different historic sites around the harbor. The Inner Harbor was a busy place over the Labor Day Weekend and there were so many choices of fun things to do! The teen girls' choice? Shopping, shopping, shopping!

Many thanks to our wonderful conference volunteers who work behind the scenes and always manage to make everything go so smoothly! They include: Lauren Lanning, Deb Slaby, Michelle Rago, Lisa Anstine, Maureen Finnegan, Sharon Santana, and Cheri West.

CWD would also like to thank the conference sponsors, LifeScan, Animas, Novo Nordisk, Deltec, TheraSense, and Medtronic MiniMed, for their generosity in supporting the conference and CWD families, as well as their passion for helping our kids and everyone with diabetes to lead a full and healthy life.

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Lauren and Harrison manned registration on Saturday afternoon.
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Dr. Richard Rubin opened the sessions Saturday morning.
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Kids enjoyed a break at the pool, insulin pump and all!
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These girls sure had a good time!
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Snack breaks afforded attendees time to talk with the exhibitors
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The Quilt for Life was shown on Friday night.
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Jeff Dietz stopped by on his 1,000 mile charity bike ride
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Baltimore 2003: Focus on Fitness and Nutrition
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Last Updated: Wednesday March 27, 2013 10:14:18
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