We may think of type 2 diabetes as a disease of middle age; a lifestyle ailment that comes after decades of unhealthy living. However now children as young as 7 are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is happening on a regular basis – a troubling modern reality.
Type 2 diabetes is no longer mature onset
Type 2 diabetes happens when the body becomes unable to tolerate high glucose levels and becomes unable to produce the amount of insulin required for proper body functions.
And since the causes of this disease are often lifestyle related – obesity, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise etc – it is also known as adult onset or mature onset diabetes. This forces effected individuals to change their live style and purchase things like the best blood glucose monitor.
This appellation may no longer be considered adequate however. Hundreds of children as young as 7 are now being diagnosed with this type of diabetes! This could mean very serious consequences for the child later in life. It could mean an amputated limb, lost or impaired eyesight or heart attacks when in their 30?s or 40’s.
Are parents to blame?
When children this young are brought in for diabetes, doctors observe that all these children were found to be seriously obese which points to the main reason for the disease. The underlying problem is the lifestyle that these children have, say experts.
There is of course the unhealthy diet – a regular intake of processed foods, fast food gives a child little nutrition but far more calories that he or she requires. Then of course is the fact that children are so much less active than they were in earlier times. They don’t walk to school anymore; they are driven there and back. They don’t play outside any longer; they are seem to be spending their day sitting down – at school, in front of the TV, in cars etc.
What parents can do to prevent type 2 diabetes
Make the effort to cook healthy meals at home and have family dinners together every day. Resist the temptation to order takeout and involve your child in healthy shopping and healthy cooking. Even when you do eat out, make your choices with care. Offer a packed lunch made at home if school food is unhealthy.
Enroll your child in activities such as a vigorous sport, hiking, rappelling and so on. Go for bike rides and nature rambles together whenever possible. This is great bonding time with your child, it will be educative and it will increase everyone’s fitness levels.