Diabetes a Touch of Sugar by James R. Gavin III

by James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD, with Sherrye Landrum.

Copyright © 2004 by Small Steps Press.

Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Small Steps Press.

For more information or to order this book, please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-232-6733, or visit store.diabetes.org.

Chapter 8 – Diabetes: A Touch of Sugar?

Type 2 Diabetes Is Not A Kid’s Disease
And yet…

Our children are getting it. Type 2 diabetes in children occurs almost exclusively in African American and Latino children. Puberty is a time of raging hormones, which causes insulin resistance. Even kids without diabetes have 30% higher insulin levels during puberty. Add to this a lifestyle of too much processed food and no exercise, and you find weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

We don’t want our children to have type 2 diabetes because then they can get all the grown-up complications of diabetes: heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and nerve damage. These complications start showing up when the kids are in their twenties. This is wrong. A child diagnosed at the age of 20 can expect to lose 17 years of life to the disease.

Exercise slam dunks everything else when it comes to preventing diabetes. Wear a pedometer and aim for walking 10,000 steps a day. Yes, it’s that simple. Buy one for your kids. It’s a toy that can save their lives. Your challenge is to get more steps into the day. Being more active every day makes a huge difference in preventing type 2 diabetes.

Put your focus on wellness, not illness. When the whole family is involved in making healthy lifestyle choices, the children are much more likely to be active, choose better foods, lose weight, and get their diabetes under control. They learn the tools from their parents, who learn by teaching what they most need to know. We can all help each other be well.

It’s a Family Affair

Diabetes is striking the whole family. It’s time to bring the family in and talk about what is going on. It’s time to involve the family in planning meals, shopping for meals, working in the garden, and cooking meals together. Teenagers make excellent chefs. They just need some encouragement and success. Homemade food is better than any other food. Dine in together instead of eating out so often. Be home and be well together.

If you get involved with your children’s health, especially if they already have diabetes, research shows that these children get much better A1C levels (7) than kids whose families do not support them at all (12). You do not want your child’s A1C in the double-digit range. High A1Cs show that she is in real danger. Do something!

Treatment for Type 2 in Kids

Most kids with type 2 diabetes see pediatric endocrinologists. These doctors are used to seeing kids with type 1 diabetes and accustomed to prescribing insulin. Insulin works for kids with type 2 as well, but I you help your child change the way she eats and exercise regularly, her blood sugar levels will come down, and she may not need any more insulin or diabetes pills to control her blood sugar levels. Lifestyle makes such a difference to our children.

Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

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