The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want parents to think about Type 2 Diabetes, that’s what used to be called adult-onset diabetes. It almost never happened to kids or teens; instead kids would get Type 1 or juvenile diabetes. Now with about one-third of American children being overweight, doctors are starting to see Type 2 diabetes in kids, sometimes as young as 10 years old. Typically it’s happening in their teen years when hormone fluctuations make it harder for the body to absorb insulin.
What can you do?
Worry about weight. People who are overweight or more likely to have insulin resistance, especially if they have excess weight around their bellies.
The CDC offers these tips:
- Limit TV time (and the mindless eating that comes with it.)
- Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no juice before age 1, 4 ounces or less a day for toddlers and 8 ounces or less for children.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Make favorite foods healthier.
- Get kids involved in making healthier meals.
- Eat slowly — it takes at least 20 minutes to start feeling full.
- Eat at the dinner table only, not in front of the TV or computer.
- Shop for food together.
- Shop on a full stomach so you’re not tempted to buy unhealthy food.
- Teach your kids to read food labels to understand which foods are healthiest.
- Have meals together as a family as often as you can.
- Don’t insist kids clean their plates.
- Don’t put serving dishes on the table.
- Serve small portions; let kids ask for seconds.
- Reward kids with praise instead of food.
- Get active. Kids should get 60 minutes of activity a day. It doesn’t have to be all together, but it should add up to an hour of movement. That activities helps keep kids at a healthier weight and helps the body better use insulin.
- Encourage kids to join a sports team.
- Have a “fit kit” available — a jump rope, hand weights, resistance bands.
- Plan active outings, like hiking or biking.
- Take walks together.
- Move more in and out of the house — vacuuming, raking leaves, gardening.
- Turn chores into games, like racing to see how fast you can clean the house.
Care about family history. Your child’s risk factor goes up when they have a family member with Type 2 diabetes or were born to a mom who had gestational diabetes; are African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Alaska Native; or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or polycystic ovary syndrome.
Consult with your doctor if any of these ring true for your kid. Usually, a doctor will start testing blood sugar levels at around age 10.
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