Preventing Your Child From Developing Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes used to be commonly called juvenile diabetes, and type 2 diabetes was known as adult-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease where your pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, was more commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, although people of all ages have it. 

Type 2 diabetes, the more prevalent type of diabetes, is a condition that develops over time, which is why it’s more commonly diagnosed in adults. Unfortunately, this chronic condition is now being diagnosed in children and young adults at an alarming rate. According to the CDC, the increasing frequency of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in young people is a growing clinical and public health concern.

Here at Liberty Pediatrics in Vestavia, Alabama, board-certified pediatrician Gina Labovitz, MD, FAAP cares deeply about her young patients, which is why we’ve put together this guide to preventing type 2 diabetes in children. Read on to discover more about type 2 diabetes and what you can do today to protect your kids.

Health consequences of type 2 diabetes

Young people with type 2 diabetes may experience several symptoms in the short-term if their condition is not managed. These symptoms include:

If not managed early on, the long-term consequences can be severe. Type 2 diabetes can lead to blindness, renal failure, heart disease, and even amputations. 

Type 2 diabetes prevention tips

While there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, there are steps you can take to prevent your child from developing type 2 diabetes. These steps include:

Reduce sweets

Keep an eye on how many foods your child consumes with added sugars. Swap out oranges for orange juice, fresh fruit for cookies, and water for soda or other sugar-laden beverages. These substitutions will not only fill your kids up with healthier foods, but they will also help them reduce snacking and consuming unhealthy empty calories. 

Exercise!

One of the reasons that type 2 diabetes is on the rise is that kids are too sedentary these days. With TV, computers, video games, and digital devices, playtime has become couch time. 

Sign your kids up for a sport. Do family hikes and bike rides together. You can even just put loud music on and have a dance party. It’s not hard to get your children to move more, but it does take some effort on your part. Exercise not only helps your child manage their weight, but it also helps their bodies use insulin more efficiently.

Prepare healthy meals

Your kids generally eat what you feed them. To help them lose weight and reduce their risk of becoming overweight or obese, which raises your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, be sure to cook them healthy, low-fat meals. Focus on whole grains, lean meats, lots of vegetables, fruit, and low-fat dairy.


For more information on treating, managing, and preventing type 2 diabetes, call or make an appointment online with Liberty Pediatrics.

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