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Adolescent Education Program


The Adolescent Education program is a self-management program targeting young people with type 1 diabetes. Through structured outdoor physical activity, participants are encouraged to use parks and natural spaces as resources for managing their illness, while forming supportive relationships with their peers. The program consists of weekly physical activity sessions in parks coordinated by exercise physiologists, combined with health literacy sessions with diabetes educators.


For Health Care Providers

The Adolescent Education program can be easily adopted by a range of health care providers that support young people experiencing type 1 diabetes. While the case study below details the program undertaken with a range of stakeholders, the program can be as simple as using your existing staff and resources to support your clients/participants to undertake self-management programs in outdoor settings that support physical activity.



  • ‘People with diabetes have a higher prevalence of disability than people without diabetes and were more likely to have a severe or profound core activity limitation than people without diabetes’[1]
  • ‘The many benefits of exercise include helping to maintain or lose weight, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce stress and tension, improve mood, sleep and mental activity and achieve target blood glucose levels’ [2]



Barwon Medicare Local Case Study

In 2011 Barwon Medicare Local partnered with a local hospital with the aim of embedding parks as a setting for program delivery.

The  Approach

  • The hospital was involved in recruiting its patients as participants – all 13-18 year olds with type 1 diabetes.
  • Participants were further grouped by age, for example year 7&8s, 9&10s, 11 & 12s. This assisted in friendship building among the participants as well as allowing for relevant discussions among the groups. For example the older groups discussed diabetes management and driving, while the younger participants discussed managing diabetes and school camps.
  • The hospital appointed its own health professionals to facilitate the program including an exercise physiologist and a diabetes educator. This ensured appropriately qualified support and advice.
  • Weekly 50-minute exercise sessions were held in a local park, with activities designed to meet the needs of all participants.
  • Exercise sessions were followed by 40-minute group health promotion sessions with the diabetes educator, where messaging around exercise and diabetes self- management was reinforced.
  • Participants were supported to form their own social media groups to increase social interactions among the group and promote a continued peer support network.


Keys to Success and Learning Points

  • Collaborative local partnerships enabled the program to run at a minimal cost with a focus on health care providers providing in kind resources and support.
  • An informal group structure was most effective in allowing participants to lead discussions and take ownership of their health management.
  • Utilising parks and natural resources supported a fun approach to health management that was particularly engaging for this demographic.


  • Participants formed relationships with other young people with similar life experiences.
  • Participants were exposed to new forms of physical activity and natural resources in their communities.
  • Participants experienced improved health literacy and self-management techniques.




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