A Diabetic Defense for Technology: There is a standard phrase that iPhone users often say; “There’s an app for that.” When choosing low calorie meals some are arming themselves with an app for mealtimes on the go.
Alyssa is not diabetic, but other family members have developed the disease. Her dad bought her an iPod iTouch for Christmas and like most teens she uses it to play games, connect to the Internet in Wi-Fi hotzones, listen to music, watch videos and post to Facebook. However, she’s also discovered key application downloads that fills her in on nutritional information about restaurants she visits.
The movie “Super Size Me” had a big impact on Alyssa and she wants to be smart on those increasingly rare occasions when she does eat out. Now while she waits in line she manipulates her iTouch screen and locates the data. She is surprised to see that some of the salads she thought were healthy actually have more calories than a burger once the dressing and tasty add ons are factored in.
She is surprised by the calories associated with some of the fries she has taken for granted and there are some items that she now totally avoids, “I remember looking up one burger special and found it was something like 1,100 calories – without the fries and drink.”
The good news is Alyssa doesn’t like pop so she doesn’t have a huge worry about sugar adding to any potential obesity problem.
“There are some places I just won’t go anymore,” said the 15 year-old, “Some food items I just can’t eat now that I know more about them.”
Has she noticed any changes in her family?
“My dad is always asking me to look stuff up when we eat out. He changes his mind about food all the time because of what my iTouch says.” Alyssa smiles. “We eat at home a lot more now.”
Alyssa’s mom, Nancy, has also noticed a difference; “I love the fact that Alyssa is taking ownership in her decisions. She’s recognizing at an early age that what she does today can affect her future. Now if only I could convince her brother it’s important.”
This is just one true story of how mobile technology is empowering people to make better choices. For the diabetic, mobile technology can allow you to monitor your glucose levels, make digital notes and even send data to an off-site tracking location. Some diabetics will even forward their data to their primary care physician for input when needed.
As more and more people accept the use of mobile technology they may find these devices can place vital information at their fingertips in between all of the games, music, emails and Facebook posts.
These devices have also made it possible for many diabetics to assume a greater level of freedom simply because they are no longer tied to bulky testing equipment and data storage issues.
“My grandma died from diabetes a couple of year ago,” Alyssa says as she looks at a picture of her grandmother from 2005 on her iTouch. “Every day she inspires me to make better choices. I know that sounds weird, but somehow it helps.”
Alyssa has two aunts with diabetes and although she is young and looks the picture of health Alyssa realizes the choices she makes today can impact her future. If you ever meet Alyssa in a restaurant you might ask her what she might recommend. You can bet the portions will be sensible and the food low in fat, sodium and calories. Oh, and she’ll be using a hand-held iTouch to pass along her wisdom.