Diabetes and Child Obesity
Type 2 diabetes commonly afflicting
adults is now increasingly affecting obese children as young as ten or twelve
years of age!
Prior to 1997, there were few documented cases of children impacted with this
disease. When a child experienced the illness before that time, it was deemed
rare due to the expectation of a diagnosis being limited to adults over age 40.
Since that time, the rising incidence of childhood obesity and the alarming rate
of reports about such children facing a diabetic crisis have stirred the medical
There are two primary types of diabetes mellitus, usually simply called
diabetes. Type 1 is genetic and therefore most likely experienced by those whose
direct ancestry were confronted with the problem. The root cause is the liver's
inability to produce insulin which is crucial to maintaining blood sugar within
normal, or safe, levels.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, usually results from the inability of the
body to use insulin properly. The risk of developing this type of diabetes is
significantly aggravated by inactivity and obesity. Children who live
predominantly sedentary lives and whose weight increases disproportionately to
their age and physical structure are most at risk.
The appearance of type 2 diabetes in an obese child includes four tell-tale
signs: excessive thirst, excessive hunger, excessive urination, and excessive
weight gain. Interestingly, a person afflicted with type 2 diabetes often
experiences sweat, urine and breath with an unnatural sweet scent. In addition
to these indicators, a person must also become attentive to wounds that heal
very slowly as yet another sign of the disease.
Diabetes is diagnosed by measuring a person's blood sugar level. The normal
range is 70-100 mg/dl, and in children with diabetes the count may go as high as
400 mg/dl. Studies reveal that the ethnic groups most likely to be impacted are
Hispanic and African American children. Concerning gender, females are more
prone to face the type 2 diabetes threat than boys.
The good news is that there is hope - and it is not complicated. The primary
treatments for type 2 diabetes are diet and exercise; for type 1 it is daily
insulin shots. A child who is either unable or unwilling to eat nourishing food
and burn calories through physical activities faces more significant health
If diet and exercise cannot effectively maintain the blood sugar levels within
an individual's normal ranges, oral anti-diabetic agents must be prescribed
as an alternative. And finally, if those tablets do not work efficiently,
insulin shots are a last resort for treating obese children with diabetes.