The contemporary lifestyle patterns in children and adolescents are making them prone to several major diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and depression among many others. It is common to find children and teenagers who often weigh much more than their recommended weight and lead an extremely inactive life.
These are some of the main causes for the development of diabetes that affects the normal living of these young individuals. It is important to take the appropriate measures for the prevention of diabetes in children as timely diagnosis helps in the proper treatment through control and management of blood sugar levels.
Prevention of Different Types of Diabetes In Children and Adolescents
Juvenile Diabetes or Type 1 diabetes can be prevented by keeping a check for symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, excessive consumption of fluids and frequent urination. This type of diabetes that usually occurs in normal or average weight children and adolescents can be cured by the administration of insulin shots.
On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes tends to develop slowly in overweight and obese children and is generally asymptotic. The prevention of Type 2 diabetes is possible through healthy dietary routines and proper exercises. In severe cases, medication or insulin is prescribed to these young diabetic patients. The causes of diabetes in children and adolescents are partly genetic and so it is important to delay or prevent the occurrence of the same in the off springs.
Some Important Measure of Prevention of Diabetes
Healthy Food Intake
The increasing levels of intake of high calorie junk food and preserved food, is one of the most common reasons for the development of diabetes in children. Well, it may seem a herculean task to keep the child away from pizzas, burgers, French fries, cookies, soft drinks, candies, donuts, chocolates, cakes and the other mouth watering savories that are available at their fingertips. However, it is very important to create awareness in these children and adolescents about the dangers of regular consumption of these high cholesterol food items and take adequate measures to minimize availability of the same.
Parents should also take the responsibility of inculcating healthy dietary patterns by including plant food and food products with low salt and saturated fats content. Some meat products and dairy items have high levels of saturated fat, that causes an increase in the cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
One of the easiest ways of preventing diabetes in young children is by encouraging healthy foods for lunch bags and In between food cravings. Non fat milk, fresh fruits, nuts, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, whole grain cereals, healthy breakfast munchies, low fat cheese, etc. can help in controlling and maintaining the glucose levels in the bloodstream.
One of the other preventive measures in relation to the purchase of whole grains relates to the addition of oatmeal, whole wheat bread, barley, brown rice and pasta in place of white rice, white bread and white pasta.At least five servings of fruits and vegetables should be served to the children across the day.
Limiting Pocket Money and Visits to Fast Food Joints and Restaurants
Nowadays it is common for parents to encourage visits to fast food joints and food parlors. The food served in these places should be completely avoided for children and adolescents who have been diagnosed for diabetes. Curtailing pocket money and accessibility to joints like Mc Donald’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, fast food delis, etc. can help in the prevention and control of blood sugar levels.
Serving Meals At The Same Time And In Small Portions
It is important to serve the food at regular timings and in small portions. This discourages fluctuations in the blood sugar levels and helps in the prevention of diabetes. It is important to set an example by eating healthy meals along with the child, at fixed timings, to help them get used to the dietary routine.
Changing the Modes of Cooking
The children and adolescents who have been diagnosed for diabetes should not be served deep fried food items. Other healthier modes of cooking such as baking, roasting, grilling, broiling, boiling and steaming should be used to create favorite dishes. Proper and colorful presentation of food will encourage the children to enjoy their meals without any complaints.
Engaging Children and Adolescents In Healthy Activities
Prevention is definitely better than cure and in the case of diabetes the measures that can be taken to prevent the insulin shots and medicine doses are aplenty. The idea is to burn as many calories as possible to prevent the blood sugar levels from rising. It is important to increase the levels of physical activity in children, that helps them get rid of the excessive calories. There are many ways of helping them engage themselves in physical activities for a minimum of 60 minutes everyday.
Parental control over the hours spent in watching television, playing video games or surfing the internet should be restricted to less than two hours everyday. The children and adolescents should be involved in active chores and activities such as vacuuming rugs, raking leaves, etc. If the school or vocational classes are located then walking distance, then avoid driving them to their classes, Walking or biking to school or other places of supervised activity can help in generating stamina and controlling blood sugar levels by burning calories.
Encouraging Participation In Family Outings and Activities
It is a general tendency for children and adolescents to avoid family outings and get-togethers as they restrict their free time to indoor games and other activities of sedentary nature. One of the best preventive measures that can be taken along with them include walking , playing basket ball,biking, trekking, etc. It is important for the parents to set a good example on the children by being active themselves.
Regular Medical Checkups
Diabetes can be well controlled and managed through regular medical checkups. The children and adolescents need a healthy diet to grow and nourish them. It is important to consult a proper professional dietitian before putting the children on a low fat diet yourself. The exact nutrients and calories required for their proper growth should be understood carefully and diet plans made accordingly.
A pediatric exercise counselor can be consulted to prescribe the right exercises for the diabetic children that keep their weight under check and burns excessive calories in a fun way. Adolescents can be enrolled in gyms and aerobic classes to loose weight and increase their stamina.
Diabetes in adolescents and children can cause great concern for the parents. However, proper measures taken at the right time can help in the control and treatment of the disorder in more ways than one.