The Obesity Epidemic and Juvenile Diabetes
by: Andrew Bicknell
The increasing obesity epidemic among children today is thought to be a leading cause in the increase in juvenile diabetes in this country today. While not everyone agrees on the causes and affects it is hard to argue with the continuing increase of children with Type 2 diabetes who are also overweight. In fact as the percentages of obese children raises so does the percentage of those affected with juvenile diabetes at nearly the same rate.
There appear to be two main reasons for this increase in Type 2 diabetes among children. Most children these days have a sedentary lifestyle that revolves around watching TV, playing video games, or using their computer to chat with and email their friends. The second issue for many kids is their poor eating habits and nutrition. Living the fast food life style or eating a bag a chips while playing video games is one of the major reasons for the preponderance of overweight kids we see today.
For many years Type 2 diabetes was something that overweight adults had to contend with, mainly because children weren't having the weight issues they have today. Type 2 diabetes in an adult is also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The primary treatment for this type of this disease is lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise for both children and adults.
One of the main concerns with type 2 juvenile diabetes is the affects it can have later on in a child's life. Children with type 2 diabetes have been found to have more life threatening complications than type 1 diabetics. Some of the major problems juveniles with this type of diabetes face include heart disease, damage to the nervous system, renal failure, blindness, and limb amputations, particularly of the feet and lower legs.
The first line of defense against juvenile type 2 diabetes is probably the most obvious. Maintain a healthy body weight through proper diet and exercise thus preventing the onset of the disease. For children already diagnosed this same treatment applies if they are to avoid the complications to their health later in life.
For the juvenile diabetic a healthy diet is the cornerstone of their treatment. A well balanced diet low in sugar, saturated fats, and salt is the way to go. High fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables, along with complex carbohydrates are best for the diabetic. Even then foods high in carbs should be eaten throughout the day to help prevent large rises in blood glucose levels. Regular physical activity or exercise is also recommended to help insulin move glucose out of the blood and into the cells.
Childhood obesity is an epidemic all parents should take seriously. The long term health affects of all children are at stake, particularly with an increased risk of juvenile diabetes, a disease that will affect any child for their life time. By making easy lifestyle changes centered on a healthy diet and physical activity the onset of type 2 diabetes can be prevented, or even delayed in children at high risk.
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