Historically, most cases of diabetes diagnosed in children were believed to be type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was viewed as an adult-onset disease. However, for the last two decades, type 2 diabetes has been on the rise globally in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and nineteen years. Recent statistics show an alarming trend. It is expected that one in every three Canadian children born in 2000 will likely be diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime and that over the next 15 years, the global incidence of type 2 diabetes in children will increase by up to 50 per cent.
To support you and your family in preventing or in managing diabetes – in children, youth or adults, Agassiz Community Health, together with the Agassiz Public Library, will be hosting a public information day on Tuesday, 20 Nov. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Agassiz Public Library. You will be able to have your blood glucose tested, have access to advice from health professionals, and learn about activity programs available at the Fitness Centre and gather important information to take home and read.
The factors that increase the probability that a child will develop type 2 diabetes are the same risk factors seen in adults. They include a family history of diabetes, certain ethnicities, maternal gestational diabetes, insulin resistance, physical inactivity, and overweight and obesity.
Obesity is closely related to the development of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. Over the last 25 years, obesity rates among children in Canada have nearly tripled; about 95 per cent of children with type 2 diabetes are overweight at diagnosis. Aside from developing diabetes, weight problems in children can lead to a range of other health problems in childhood and in later years. In fact, studies show that children and adolescents face complications from both type 2 diabetes and obesity, with complications developing more rapidly than they would in adults.
Now the good news is that a healthy lifestyle, just as in adults, can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that families try the following simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference in the health of your family.
1. Switch from regular pop to sugar-free pop or water.
2. Offer children healthy snack choices, such as fresh fruits and cut-up veggies.
3. Switch to lower-fat dairy products.
4. Model healthy eating and activity habits for your children.
5. Leave the car at home; walk or bike whenever possible.
6. Gradually reduce screen time and replace it with active play time. Try a family walk after dinner.
7. Follow Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide and Tips to Get Active – copies can be found at the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
• Submitted by Agassiz Community Heath with credit to the Canadian Diabetes Association