As teenagers and young adults you are not immune to Childhood Type 2 diabetes. In fact this debilitating disease and obesity are both epidemics sweeping across America. In the U.S. today, over 12.5 million children and teenagers are overweight- that’s 17.1 percent of those aged between 2 and 19 years.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, these overweight and obese children and teens are more likely to experience cardiovascular health problems, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.
Traditionally, when diabetes was detected during childhood, it was assumed to be juvenile-onset or Type 1 diabetes. However, in the past 20 years, more kids are developing this other affliction, and inordinate weight gain is the root cause.
For answers to your questions about a childhood diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, keep reading.
What is Type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is caused when your body begins to develop a resistance to insulin, therefore no longer using insulin efficiently. Eventually, the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin and can’t regulate blood sugar levels properly.
Is childhood Type 2 diabetes actually a major problem?
According to the National Center for Chronic Disease prevention and Health Promotion, Type 2 diabetes for adolescents and children is on the rise. Those most frequently diagnosed are between the ages of 10 and 19.
Type 2 diabetes affects all ethnic groups, but the disease is more prevalent among non-white children. The groups hardest hit by childhood type 2 diabetes, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, are American Indian Youths and Canadian First Nation peoples.
What are the contributing factors to a childhood diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes?
Based on information from the CDC (Center for Disease Control in Atlanta), most of the children and adolescents diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are obese, may be exposed to diabetes in utero, have poor glycemic control and also have a strong family history of the disease.
Is childhood Type 2 diabetes difficult to detect?
Type 2 diabetes in children can go undetected for a lengthy period of time because children either exhibit no symptoms, experience mild symptoms, or are unable to communicate many of the indicators they may notice. Often it is not caught until a child becomes a teenager or even later. Therefore, blood tests are needed for an accurate diagnosis.
What is the best defense against a childhood Type 2 diabetes diagnosis?
A parent’s best response to protect against and alleviate childhood Type 2 diabetes and obesity is a healthy diet combined with frequent, daily exercise. Your child should be on the move for a minimum of 20 to 40 minutes each day while avoiding processed foods high in sugar, salt and fat.
According to the CDC, the best defense is maintaining a healthy body weight. That solution may not appeal to a heavy child who is not motivated to exert himself. However, the good news is that it offers the child a level of control over the situation that drugs and other medical solutions may not.