Before, kids who get diabetes used to only carry the case of type-1 diabetes or one that was juvenile-onset. But today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 186,000 below the age of 20 have both type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Type-2 diabetes is when the body cells become resistant to the function of insulin that glucose builds up in the bloodstream. If remained unchecked, the glucose build-up may reach dangerous levels (high blood sugar) and lead to diabetes. The body is then unable to contain the dangerous increase of glucose in the blood vessels. Worse, diabetes can lead to complications involving serious heart ailments or kidney failures.
Causes of Diabetes in Kids
Why are kids susceptible to diabetes today? Here are some reasons for type 2 diabetes in children:
- Family diabetes history: If predecessors of the child had diabetes, the child might have the tendency to develop it as well. But early detection can result to easier blood sugar management.
- Overweight: With the kinds of popular food available today—rich in sugar, carbohydrates, and fat—children easily succumb to high blood sugar, especially when they lose their athletic activities in favor of sitting all day busy with their computers, tablets, or iPads.
- Sugary beverage: Almost all beverages that appeal to teenagers today are high in ingredients that increase sugar in the blood—floats, shakes, soft drinks, and sodas.
- Some formula milk: Some formula milk brands are reportedly high in sugar and tend to develop a preference for sweets in kids.
But experts say being overweight remains the main reason for type 2 diabetes in children. An overweight kid is doubly susceptible to the disease. Moreover, anything that increases abdominal fat in kids makes them more apt to be insulin resistant in the end. To make matters worse, the advent of video and computer games that keep kids at home and stuck to their computer gadgets—and away from outdoor fun activities—increases their chances of getting a flabby belly.
Add to this the tendency of parents being overprotective of their kids. They sometimes refuse to let their children play active games outside the house, fearing for their safety. They’d rather keep the kids busy indoors, where they are safe and easier to manage. However, this is a plus factor for toddler obesity—when kids are deprived of a physically active life.
The solution to prevent early type-2 diabetes in kids lies at home, in school and in parents, especially. Home and school should work together to come up with a safe and appropriate active environment and program for toddlers to give them a well-rounded physical health.