Fighting Childhood Obesity
photo by dreamstime.com
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents; about 151,000 people below the age of 20 years have diabetes.” Several decades ago if a child walked into the doctor’s office with a hemoglobin/A1C level over 6.5%, the doctor would immediately diagnose
Juvenile-onset diabetes (also known as type I diabetes). However, in today’s society that’s not the case. Children are increasingly being diagnosed with Type II diabetes or adult-onset diabetes.
Why is this?
Diet and exercise are the keys to the prevention of Type II diabetes. Yet, we live in microwave society where those two words are tantamount to curse words for many Americans. Unfortunately for people like me living with Type I diabetes we will have to take insulin injections for the rest of our lives.
Kids should be able to enjoy being kids without living the daily injection lifestyle.
Nonetheless, the reality is we live in a world, where school lunches consist of French fries and hamburgers with very little fruits and veggies. Physical Education (P.E) class is more like a social hour; and exercise has been dumbed down to using two thumbs.
In 2010, the First Lady, Michelle Obama, launched The Let’s Move campaign to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity. The White House press office reported that, “One third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives; many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. A recent study put the health care costs of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion per year.”
This is a sample lunch menu from Lewisville Independent School District. There are very little fruits and vegetables on the menu. The salads are so saturated with other additives that they are counterproductive. Also, the breakfast selections are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates.
According to diabeteswellness.net, “diabetes is a defect in the body’s ability to convert glucose (sugar) to energy. Glucose is the main source of fuel for our body. Glucose is transferred to the blood and is used by the cells for energy. In order for glucose to be transferred from the blood into the cells, the hormone – insulin is needed. Insulin is produced in the pancreas.”
“In individuals with diabetes, this process is impaired. Diabetes develops when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient quantities of insulin – Type 1(Juvenile Diabetes, Insulin-Dependent) diabetes or the insulin produced is defective and cannot move glucose into the cells – Type 2 (Adult-Onset) diabetes”
When a child is not getting the “fuel” they need from glucose, it affects their mind as well as their body. Their minds cannot perform at their highest levels. Parents and teachers need to be informed and equipped with toolkits to help keep our kids healthy.
Discover how to save our kids’ future – 3 ways to help our children reach their fullest potential and prevent childhood obesity!
1. Educate your family and friends about how to recognize diabetes in children. The most common triggers to watch out for are:
- Increased thirstiness
- Frequent need to urinate
- Being sleepy or always lethargic
- Fruity smelling odor on the breathe
- Donate healthy snacks and/or meals to your local schools.
- Follow the first lady, Michelle Obama’s example. Plant a garden for your local school district.
- Host a fitness class at an elementary school. Whether it’s yoga, jump rope for heart or teaching kids how to hula hoop, kids will enjoy the fun activities and probably won’t notice the hidden fitness agenda.
3. Support nutritious snacks in schools:
Write a letter to the U.S Department of Agriculture to ensure the foods and beverages that students purchase at school are of the healthiest quality. “…make sure they are healthy snacks!!!”
For more information on preventing diabetes and fighting childhood obesity go to www.letsmove.org or www.jdrf.org.