Project Name—
Introduction



Type 1 Ally is an app to help Type 1 Diabetics improve their relationship with food and body image through macro-focused nutrition tracking, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and community support.

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PROBLEM


Eating disorders occur at an alarmingly high rate in type 1 diabetics, specifically teenaged female-identifying diabetics. Contributing to this is the fact that T1 diabetes requires a constant focus on food counting and macro-tracking, while eating disorders are worsened by an intense focus on food. Current food tracking apps available to help diabetics track their carbs are triggering to those prone to disordered eating and push detrimental attitudes surround different food choices.




SOLUTION


Type 1 Ally is an app to help Type 1 Diabetics improve their relationship with food and body imagethrough macro-focused nutrition tracking, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and community support. Not only does Type 1 Ally provide food tracking services to meet the physical needs of user, but it also connects users with a support system and community of other diabetics.





① Discovery



I decided to research diabetes due to my brother’s recent Type 1 diagnosis.


When I started to research different aspects of diabetes such as lifestyle changes, blood sugar management, and mental health effects, I discovered something that surprised me:



“Studies show that a person with Type 1 diabetes is more than twice as likely as the average person to develop an eating disorder”


Walden Eating Disorders
 

I, then, decided to dig deeper into the connection between type one diabetes and eating disorders through interviews with diabetics, online research publications, and statistics (from Statista).


I found that...


  • Eating disorders in Type 1 diabetics have their own name: “diabetes mellitus type 1”  or ED-DMT1

  • Diabetes management requires a constant focus on food & nutrtion. This intense focus on nutrition/eating can trigger eating disorder behaviors and thought patterns..

  • Both eating disorders and type one diabetes are typically on-set during adolescence.





Treatment Research


Treatment of eating disorders in Type 1 diabetics require a multidisciplinary approach to heal the physical, emotional, and mental apsects of this dual diagnosis.









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“The psychological challenges of living with a chronic illness that requires an intense focus on food and weight can be a gateway to the development of an eating disorder.”