Educational and support groups have been used successfully to promote healthy behaviors in various populations with chronic diseases such as diabetes . Several different group programs have been described specifically for the pregnant adolescent [34-36]. Each program addresses nutrition differently, however. The Pregnancy Aid Center (PAC) located in Maryland has been providing care to pregnant adolescents since 1995, and was described by Bowman and Palley . As part of this program, participants meet with social workers in groups; social workers then assist these individuals with direct service provision including transportation to and assistance with registration in government programs, including Medicaid and WIC. Bowan and Palley tracked 40 adolescent participants for a year and reported improved mean maternal weight gain and birth weights over the background statistics for the area they served. These authors postulated that the individual contact with social workers, who provided flexible services to participants, helped to reduce program-related anxiety. Other reported positive outcomes of the program included an increase in the number of participants who received regular prenatal care, and a reported 100% participation rate in WIC services for their study population .
Another program designed to deliver prenatal care with an emphasis on nutrition is the CenteringPregnancy program developed by Sharon Rising. This program uses a structured curriculum with clearly defined nutrition objectives. The content of the curriculum is based on assessment, education, and skills building, and support . CenteringPregnancy uses the benefits of group interaction, emphasizes individual responsibility for health, and combines it with well-designed information on important topics such as prenatal nutrition and infant feeding . Although preliminary, outcome data suggest that this program has promise for reducing the incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight in a cost effective manner [33, 38, 39].
Nutrition experts at the University of Minnesota as part of their Leadership, Education and Training Program in Maternal And Child Nutrition have proposed a method of counseling pregnant adolescents in individual and group sessions based on motivational negotiation . This technique has been described as "a dance," in which the provider is the expert in knowledge, and the client is the expert in her abilities, struggles, and motivation. Motivational negotiation is a fairly new counseling technique that has shown promise in changing adult and adolescent dietary and health-related behaviors. The technique and its applications for the pregnant adolescent are described in more detail and can be accessed from the webpage www.epi.umn.edu/let/nutri/pregadol/index.shtm.
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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...