What puts your child at risk for diabetes?April 5, 2016
By Jessica Vician
Pick up the kids from school or daycare. Need dinner. Exhausted. McDonald’s drive-thru. Sure, there should be some greens, less fat and sodium in there, but there’s no time for anything else. Can’t keep feeling guilty.
Let’s take a moment. The above scenario is fine every once in a while, but has it become the norm?
How many times in the past week have you resorted to drive-thru or take-out? In the past month?
How many times has your child had at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day in the past month?
Have these one-off situations have become the routine? Are you actively helping your kids be healthy? Could they be at risk for a health problem like diabetes?
It may sound crazy, but if drive-thru dining and TV have become the new routine, even your kids could be at risk of diabetes. Let’s look at the facts.
What is diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes, but both can affect your child.
- Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes because it is often diagnosed in children and young adults. In this version of the disease, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate the person’s blood sugar.
- In type 2 diabetes, the body can’t use the insulin it produces properly. This type of diabetes usually occurs in adults and often can be prevented by having a healthy weight and getting regular physical activity.
How can I make sure my child doesn’t get diabetes?
Because of the rise in child obesity, doctors are seeing more cases of type 2 diabetes in children and teens. What can you do to help your child prevent Type 2 diabetes?
- Serve proper portions of healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks
- Serve a variety of foods, including lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Make sure your child gets at least an hour of physical activity a day
- Skip the drive-thru and have a picnic in the park or on the lawn. Getting your child outside will lead to play and physical activity.
Check out this infographic on portion sizes to make sure you’re serving the right amount of food.
Illustration by Leah VanWhy
Thursday, April 7 is World Health Day. This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) is focusing on diabetes. Learn more on their website.