Role of a registered dietitian in pediatric type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Abstract: Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are complex, chronic diseases that are best managed by a multidisciplinary care team. Type 1 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in the pediatric population, although the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in youth is increasing rapidly. A registered dietitian (RD) is a critical member of the diabetes team who provides focused nutrition education from diagnosis and throughout routine follow-up care. Specifically in the pediatric population, the RD also assesses growth and development, as well as eating behaviors, food choices and meal patterns. Based on a review of research, ongoing support from an RD improves glycemic control and delays onset of diabetes complications. In addition, dietitian-led nutrition education helps better manage lipid levels and aids in weight management. A sample model describing RD involvement in a pediatric diabetes care team is discussed in further detail.