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Preventing Diabetes In Kids

Take steps to reduce your child’s risk of diabetes by instilling healthy habits early.

Diabetes, specifically Type 2 diabetes, is on the rise in the United States. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), one in three people will have diabetes by the year 2050.

Unfortunately, some children, based on their biology, are at a higher risk, including those who are African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander, and Native American. Lower your child’s risk of Type 2 diabetes by introducing healthy habits at a young age.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. It affects your child’s ability to produce insulin, or a hormone needed to use glucose in the body. People with Type 1 diabetes inject themselves with insulin daily to help them live well.

Type 2 diabetes affects how the body can make insulin, but it may not make enough. This type of diabetes can be prevented.


Who is at Risk?

If your family has a history of the disease, your child may be at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes. While age is also a risk factor, more and more teens are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. According to ADA, being overweight is the leading risk factor for this group.

Warning signs include an increased thirst, recurring or nighttime urination, blurry vision, and abnormal drowsiness.


Small, Healthy Changes

Preventing diabetes in your child can be achieved through small changes that make a huge difference in their short- and long-term wellness. Follow these tips to help lower your child’s risk of Type 2 diabetes.

  • Replace sugary drinks like sodas, juices ,and sports drinks with water.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. If fresh foods are unavailable, try frozen.
  • Encourage healthy snacking by putting healthy foods like grapes, carrots, and granola on the counter.
  • Don’t give in to the fast food trend. But if you do, choose foods that are grilled or broiled.
  • Limit screen time including television, computer, phone, and video games.

Eating healthfully and staying active are the two keys to preventing Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in your child.

As a parent, it’s crucial you adopt these changes in your own life to set a positive example for the entire family. Play football or throw a Frisbee in the backyard—get the whole family moving. Take a trip to the park. These actions will steer your child toward health, preventing chronic illnesses.

Beebe Healthcare offers free support services, including weekly glucose screenings and regular classes, for people with diabetes. Click here for a calendar of events.