Healthy Weight, Diabetes and Your Child

By Troy Nelson, MD, Medical Director at DMG Children’s Rehabilitative Services

children playing outdoors

Did you know November was American Diabetes Month?  According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and more than seven million of those people are undiagnosed. About 210,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes: Diagnosed at Younger Ages

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10% of diabetes cases in the United States.  Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults.

Type 2 Diabetes: Increasing Pediatric Cases

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and is generally diagnosed in middle age or older.  However, the incidence is on the rise in children because more children are becoming obese.  Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, regardless of age.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Your child may develop type 2 diabetes so gradually that there are no noticeable symptoms. Sometimes, the disorder is diagnosed during a routine check-up, which is why regular well-child exams are important.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes in your child may include:

• Blurry vision
• Darkened areas of skin, especially around the neck and armpits
• Fatigue
• Frequent urination
• Increased thirst

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors in Children

• Age and sex: Many children develop type 2 diabetes in their early teens. Adolescent girls are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than are adolescent boys.
• Family history
• Inactivity
• Overweight, especially in the abdomen
• Pre-term birth (before 39-42 weeks)
• Race or ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian American people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes

Preventing and Managing Pediatric Type 2 Diabetes

You can help decrease the risk of your child getting type 2 diabetes as well as help manage it if your child has been diagnosed.

• Get an annual well-child exam with your child’s pediatrician or family medicine provider.
• Eat healthy foods as a family; encourage your child to participate in meal planning and preparation.
• Ensure your child gets plenty of physical activity; identify activities you can do as a family, like hiking or walking the dog.
• Help your child maintain a healthy weight.

DMG Children’s Rehabilitative Services includes pediatric and young adult providers,  endocrinologists and nutritionists to support your child and your family.  We are committed to educating you and your child and developing treatment plans to optimize your child’s health and long-term wellness.

 

This post was originally published on December 9th, 2020 at DMGAZ.org