Prevent kids’ diabetes by changing lifestyle
Diabetes is being diagnosed in children by increasing numbers.
RISING levels of children diagnosed with diabetes are blamed by health professionals on high-calorie food and sedentary behavior, leading to obesity. Parents need to encourage more active lifestyles and healthy diets, especially in families with a history of diabetes.
The largest diabetes survey ever conducted determined that every year, 15,000 children and adolescents in the United States are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a 60 percent increase since 1980, and 3,700 are found to have Type 2 diabetes, which typically afflicts obese adults and had been rare among children. The figures are based on surveys taken in 10 areas, including Hawaii.
Type 2 was found more frequently among minorities ages 15-19 -- 49.4 per 100,000 American Indians, 22.7 per 100,000 Asians and Pacific Islanders and 19.4 per 100,000 African Americans, compared to only 5.6 per 100,000 non-Hispanic Caucasians. Conversely, Type 1 was diagnosed more often among 10-to-14-year-old non-Hispanic whites -- 32 per 100,000, nearly quadruple the 8.3 per 100,000 found among Asian-Pacific Islanders.
The experts offered no explanation for the differences among races but attributed the increased occurrence of diabetes to changing lifestyles. Children spend more time at home watching television and eating fast food than their parents and grandparents did.
The course of treatment for this alarming health problem is clear. Beatriz L. Rodriguez, a University of Hawaii medical professor, told the Star-Bulletin's Helen Altonn,"We can definitely prevent Type 2 by preventing obesity and promoting an active lifestyle in children and adolescents and by following a healthy diet."
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