Rising Type-2 Diabetes Among Children by Zeba Asaf
Rising Type-2 Diabetes Among Children
And this is quite disturbing. Diabetes is no longer a condition of old age, it has reached the tiny tots of our homes. Though the exact figure is not determined, yet the situation is alarming. Various studies have shown that type-2 diabetes in children has increased in frequency worldwide over the past two decades. Children from ethnic groups-African, Arab, Asian are more at risk. But the good news is that it can be prevented as well as controlled/reversed with proper professional care. Let’s see what are the symptoms, causes, remedies of type-2 diabetes among kids and how parents can play a greater role in protecting their wards from it.
The first thing to bear in mind is that Diabetes is not a disease. It is rather a metabolic disorder due to abnormally high levels of blood glucose. Type-2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce sufficient insulin to utilize the excess sugar in blood or when the body becomes insulin-resistant.
Symptoms to watch for in Kids :
Abnormal weight gain
Increase in fatigue
Increase in thirst and frequency of urination Increase in hunger
Irritability and behavioural changes Abdominal pain
Slow healing of wounds
The most common cause of type-2 diabetes in kids is Obesity. And obesity is due to the below factors: -
i) High-calorie, sugary diet, and junk food.
With an increase in nuclear families and more and more families with both parents working, eating a timely meal has become a formality, let alone a healthy one. The focus is on quick meal options which are high in fat and sugar. This has resulted in increased visceral fat which is directly linked to insulin insensitivity and type-2 diabetes in kids.
ii) Less physical and outdoor activities
With so many gadgets around and a decrease in open space for kids to play, physical activities have been minimised. They burn fewer calories and this results in fat accumulation in the body.
Believe it or not, children today are under lots of stress especially in the age group of 9-15. And parents are responsible for this to a greater extent. They want their kids to excel in all: academics, sports, extra-curricular activities. Children are under undue pressure to perform. They have less time to sleep and relax. All these affect their metabolism resulting in this disorder.
Last but not the least, type-2 diabetes is highly heritable with 90% of children having a first or second-degree relative suffering from this condition.
The solution evidently lies in the problem.
Children should be encouraged to have well-balanced meals which are rich in nutrients like fruits, vegetables, milk, and lean proteins and reduce intake of unhealthy fats. Parents should take out time to plan a meal in advance. The golden rule is ‘Do not bring unhealthy food inside your home. Because once they reach home, they would eventually reach your stomach’.
Avoid high-calorie, sugary foods, and beverages.
Parents must encourage their kids to indulge in outdoor activities, be more active, and spend less time in front of the TV or mobiles. Be a role model rather than just preaching.
Children should never be subjected to any form of performance-based stress. Parents should chart realistic goals based on their wards’ likes and abilities.
It’s an irony that on a day when India celebrates Children’s Day, the world observes World Diabetes Day and Indian kids are at a higher risk of this deadly disorder.
The world is moving at a great pace. There is modernisation, urbanisation, and economic growth in almost all spheres of life. These have changed the social dynamics too. Lifestyle has taken a 360-degree shift which affects the health of all, one way or the other. So, the need of the hour is a little care, a little vigilance, a little planning, and a little maturity to prevent type-2 diabetes among kids. Remember, diabetes is not a disease, it is a disorder that can be prevented, controlled, and reversed with a proper diet, healthy lifestyle, and a positive mindset.
Let’s end on a positive note.
HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY
May the Almighty Bless all the children with good health, happiness, and success in life.
Wishes and Prayers for a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful World.