Evaluating the Children's Diabetes CD-ROM

| Sep 1, 1998

Preliminary results from research performed at Children's Hospital Los Angeles by the Starbright Foundation suggests that the Diabetes CD-ROM is effective in teaching kids about diabetes. When compared to other education methods-including a three-hour group session of educational games and activities and a 1991 Nintendo video game designed to help kids learn about managing their insulin levels-the CD-ROM produced the best overall results. For example, children who used the CD-ROM had better HbA1c levels, higher diabetes knowledge scores, and were more comfortable talking to parents and friends about their diabetes than those who engaged in the other activities.

"This is much more than a game," says Lori Berard, CDE, a diabetes educator and product evaluator at the Health Sciences Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "The CD-ROM helps with life skills such as how to cope when your blood sugar levels fall suddenly or what to pack in your knapsack before you leave the house for the day." Ms. Berard also thought the program a good motivator for children to learn about diabetes. "I found it colorful, entertaining and interactive enough to keep a young child's attention," she said.

While the evaluations have been positive, they are not conclusive. For example, in the Childrens Hospital study, parental influences may have contributed to the positive outcomes. Francine Kaufman, MD, director of the Childhood Diabetes Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, indicates that, "these kids also do well because their parents are on top of their diabetes."

The Diabetes CD-ROM is free to families of children who have diabetes. To obtain a copy, all you need is a mailing address. Call the Starbright Foundation at 1-800-760-3818. Both English and Spanish versions of the program are available for either MacIntosh or PC computers.

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