World Diabetes Day 2014: Preventing diabetes in children!

The number of Indian kids diagnosed with diabetes is on the rise, which is a huge concern. This signifies lack of awareness levels about the disease in the country. 

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Nov 14, 2014, 00:35 AM IST

Salome Phelamei

The number of Indian kids diagnosed with diabetes is on the rise, which is a huge concern. This signifies lack of awareness levels about the disease in the country.

A new report shows that around 70, 000 Indian children under the age of 15 suffer from type 1 diabetes, while another 40,000 have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

According to doctors, the rise in the number of children developing the disease is because most children with type 1 diabetes, which accounts for up to 90 percent of all childhood diabetes, are not diagnosed on time. Also rising childhood obesity can be a risk factor.

While type 1 is an autoimmune disease where children are dependent on insulin for survival, type 2 is due to insulin resistance and is seen in obese children with a family history of diabetes.

Prevention:

Type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes can't be prevented, but can be well managed. Parents can help their child reduce the complications due to type 1 diabetes through maintaining good blood sugar control and healthy diet.

Type 2 diabetes and its complications can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. Remember small changes can make a big difference, so even a small amount of weight loss or changes in lifestyle can help reduce your child's risk.

Healthy foods: Give your kids a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting fast food. Choose foods that are low in calories and fats. Limit sugar-sweetened drinks and instead give him/her water.

Physical activity: Encourage your kids to get active. Teens and children should get 60 minutes a day of exercise most days on the week. Decrease the amount of time spent in sedentary activities such as watching TV, playing computer or video games. This will help in reducing the risk of weight gain as well as help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Weight loss: Obesity can increase the risk of the disease. Apart from exercise, talk to a registered dietician to help you determine your child's ideal weight and diet. While kids need enough calories and nutrients for their growth, excessive weight gain should be avoided by adopting a healthy diet to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.