From kidnappings to school shootings, parents worry about their children’s safety any time they leave the house. Equally important yet less publicized are health dangers. For example, Type 2 diabetes.
Here at Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, Dr. Gina Labovitz and our highly trained staff provide exceptional primary care services. Whether your child is ill, injured or needs advice on how to avoid diabetes, we offer a variety of treatment options to meet your family’s needs.
To run smoothly the body uses glucose, a type of sugar you get from food. Once glucose is in the bloodstream the pancreas creates the hormone insulin to help glucose enter the body’s cells.
Diabetes occurs when there is an issue with insulin and/or its use. In Type 1 diabetes, the body cannot produce insulin. This type cannot be prevented. On the other hand, a person with Type 2 diabetes can make insulin but their pancreas doesn’t react to it properly.
Often children are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as young teenagers in part because the hormones of puberty can impact the body’s use of insulin. This is especially true for girls who are more likely to develop it than boys.
Type 2 diabetes prevention
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent your child from developing Type 2 diabetes. Here are a few ways:
Manage their weight
Anyone who’s overweight or obese has an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including children. This is especially true for those who carry excess weight around the belly.
Because children are constantly growing, the best advice is to slow down their weight gain rather than embarking on a weight loss diet. If you’re unsure, a doctor can help.
Eat a healthy diet
Your diet should consume more fruits and vegetables and less junk food. In addition, substitute water for sugary drinks.
It’s also a good idea to make meal planning a family affair and teach your children to read food labels so they can learn what’s good for them. Encourage proper portions by not forcing kids to eat everything on their plate and keep serving dishes off the table.
Keep in mind it can take 20 minutes to feel full, so eat slowly. Turn off the television and avoid electronics at the dinner table. This way, you’ll be able to pay attention to what you’re eating and avoid overeating.
Physical activity is key to keeping weight in check and staying healthy. Children should have an hour of exercise a day either at once or in 10 or 15-minute segments. Some kids might like sports while others do better with a walk, hike or bike ride. Even chores indoors or out can count for physical activity. To help them stay active, screen time should be no more than two hours a day.
Whether you’re concerned about your child developing diabetes or have another health issue that needs addressing, visit us here to make an appointment with Dr. Labovitz today.