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Obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are diseases normally associated with adults. But the truth is that obesity among children has doubled in the past 20 years. Researchers predict that children today will be the first generation in 100 years who may not outlive their parents if this trend continues.
Recent research looked at youth participating in a study on diabetes and found that 72 percent of youth in the study with type 2 diabetes later developed other complications including nephropathy (kidney disease), retinopathy (eye disease) and peripheral neuropathy (nerve disease). Sadly, these are all long-term complications of diabetes.
Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes
Yes, children who are obese are at great risk for diabetes and complications due to diabetes. In fact, the complications are worse in children. But there are 3 ways parents can help prevent children from developing diabetes:
#1 – Weight management: children need to be taught about healthy food choices which will help maintain a normal, healthy weight and thus avoid diabetes. It is especially important for children with type 2 diabetes to follow a healthy meal plan, like low fat, high fiber foods. Healthy meal and calorie planning will lead to good nutrition and normal growth and development.
#2 – Exercise: children, like adults, need regular exercise. Increased physical activity is especially important for children with diabetes. This means exercising or doing physical activity at least 60 minutes each day. This will help lower blood glucose levels.
#3 – Watch blood sugar: children with diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose regularly and understand what range they need to be in. This will control blood sugar levels and avoid complications.
If children with diabetes can do these 3 things, they will avoid complications from diabetes and keep their blood sugar levels as normal as possible. It is important for parents who have children with diabetes to educate them on what they need to do in order to live a long and healthy life.