What is pre-diabetes in children and how can it be prevented?
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have “pre-diabetes.” In adults, it may take ten years to progress from pre-diabetes to diabetes but by that time much damage could have occurred. With decreased activity and excess weight, we are seeing a rise in pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes in children.
Pre-diabetes is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Research has shown that if you take action to control your blood glucose when you have pre-diabetes, you can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes from occurring. People with pre-diabetes can expect to benefit from much of the same advice for good nutrition and physical activity.
There are many factors that contribute to children becoming overweight, such as the following:
- Less physical activity
- Frequent consumption of high sugar, high-fat foods
- Meals consumed away from home, including fast food
- Limited access to parks and recreation sites
- Unsafe neighborhoods limiting outdoor play
- Increased portion sizes
- Parenting practices and behavior
- Driving short distances instead of walking or bicycling
- Overuse of TV, computers and video games
- Advertisement of high sugar, high-fat foods to children
- The high cost of fruits and vegetables vs. the low cost of junk foods
- Unhealthy school environments
- Limited access to fruits and vegetables
What can you do to prevent it?
- Current research shows that breastfed infants have a decreased risk of being overweight. There is also some research that suggests that diet during pregnancy may be linked to childhood obesity. Be sure to visit our pregnancy section and breastfeeding section to get great tips on how to give your child the best nutritional start in life.
- Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist to help improve health behaviors in your family.
- Check out our Healthy Kids Today, Prevent Cancer Tomorrow Campaign. Eating healthy at an early age can help prevent some adult cancers. The good news is this lifestyle can also help prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes.