Children with type 1 diabetes miss more school, study suggests

Dec. 5, 2022
Cardiff University-led study assessed links between diabetes and educational attainment.

Children living with type 1 diabetes miss an average of nine more sessions of school a year compared to children without the condition, a new study led by Cardiff University has found.

Published in the Journal for Diabetes Care, the research found that children with type 1 diabetes who have the healthiest blood glucose levels miss seven more sessions per year, while those who experience challenges in managing their diabetes are absent for 15 more sessions a year. Absence is measured in sessions, which is half a day.

The team found that while many children with diabetes still perform well in their education both at age 16 and university participation, those facing struggles to manage their blood glucose levels achieved results that are five grades lower in GCSEs than children without the condition - for example 3Bs and 5Cs vs 8 Bs.

They are also less than half as likely to attend university as children without type 1 diabetes.

The team’s research – a quantitative study which used data from schoolchildren (aged six to 18) in Wales between 2009 and 2016 – also took into account factors such as a child’s household socioeconomic status, neighborhood deprivation, gender, and age.

They found that these personal and family characteristics are likely to be associated with effective self-management of diabetes and in turn, have an effect on educational attainment.

Cardiff University release