Weight and Diabetes - FamilyEducation

Weight and Diabetes in Kids

by Julie Deaner

With overweight and obesity a nationwide problem, more children are being diagnosed with diabetes. Read about diabetes and its complications, and learn prevention and controlling tips to reduce your child's risk of developing the condition.

What is diabetes?

A study completed in 2004 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 12.5 million (17.1%) of children ages 2-19 in the United States were overweight. From 1999 to 2004, overweight and obesity had increased almost 33% in children and teens in the U.S. Specifically, the prevalence of being overweight increased from 5% to 13.9% in children ages 2-5, from 6.5% to 18.8% in children ages 6-11, and from 5% to 17.4% in children ages 12-19.

The increasing rate of overweight and obese children in America is sending an alarming message about the state of our nation's health. Overweight children and teens are at risk for health problems not only during their youth, but also as adults. In fact, experts believe that more children and teens have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over the recent years as a result of the rapidly growing weight problem.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the United States. The disease affects how the body uses glucose, the major source of energy fueling the body. Insulin is needed to properly use glucose, but with diabetes, the body either can't produce insulin (type 1 diabetes) or it doesn't work in the body like it should (type 2 diabetes). In both types of diabetes, glucose can't get into the cells normally, which increases the blood sugar level. This can cause many lifelong health complications, and can be life-threatening.

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