This post has been written by Dr. Anusuya Shetty, Degree – MBBS, DNB (Gen Med), Diploma (APD&IPD), General Medicine, Apollo Clinic Bellandur, Bengaluru.
Type 2 Diabetes in children is a growing problem. The new generation of children and adolescents show unprecedented levels of obesity. This foretells not only an epidemic of obesity to be tackled but also a great burden of treating weight-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Several studies from India have highlighted that the epidemic of diabetes in urban India would become worse due to the rising trend of obesity in children. In urban South India, the prevalence of overweight among school children is high and shows a strong association with lack of physical activity and high social stratum. Prevalence of type2 diabetes children is also escalating, probably due to the above phenomena.
Factors That May Cause Type1 Diabetes Include:
- Being overweight and having a body mass index (BMI) above the 85th percentile
- Having a birthweight of 9pound (4kg) or more
- Being born to a mother who had diabetes while she was pregnant
- Having a close family member with type 2 diabetes
- Having a sedentary lifestyle
Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes In Children
Some children with type 2 diabetes may show symptoms others may not. You should consult the child’s doctor even if your child has no symptoms but has any of the risk factors.
Risk factors include:
- Weight ( BMI over the 85th percentile)
- A close blood relative who has type 2 diabetes
- Race (African- American, Hispanic, Asian-American have a higher incidence)
Symptoms Children May Show As Adults
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive hunger.
- Increased urination.
- Sores which heal slowly
- Frequent infections.
- Blurry eyes
- Areas of darkened skin
See your doctor immediately if the child has any of the above symptoms. Untreated diabetes leads to life-threatening complications. A random sugar test may reveal a high blood sugar level. A glycosylated A1C test can provide a value of sugar levels over a few months. Your child may need a fasting sugar test.
Why A Healthy Diet Is Important
- It is important that your diet focuses on vegetables, whole grains and fruits.
- Encourage everyone to eat complex carbohydrates i.e. grains, cereals and pulses, vegetables and salads.
- Avoid simple and refined carbohydrates like sugar, honey and jaggery.
- Avoid bakery products and deep fried products.
- You should cut down on sweets, aerated drinks.
- It is not only what you eat but also be careful about the portion sizes.
- Try to eat your meals at the same time every day.
Importance Of Exercise:
Type 2 diabetes is associated with inactivity. Getting 30 mins of aerobic activity can improve overall health.
Importance Of Weight Management:
Being overweight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy balanced meal and daily exercise should help to keep weight under control. Type 2 diabetes will require measures to promote physical activity and reduce obesity children.
Considering Indians are more insulin resistant, it would be prudent to advise a healthy lifestyle across the different regions and age groups, continue traditional diets rich in fibre and adopt exercise as a measure to lose weight. Such an effort is urgently needed to tackle the explosion of diabetes and lower the burden due to disease in India.