MARSHmedia Blog

November is Diabetes Awareness Month - Help Prevent this Disease

A recent study shows that type 2 diabetes has increased by more than 20% since 2001, among U.S. children. Many of the type 2 diagnosis are explained by the rise in overweight and obese children. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 percent of U.S. children and teens are obese - three times the number of a generation ago.

Experts believe type 2 diabetes develops in children the same way it does in adults. The body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin, or it cannot correctly use the insulin available. Either or both of these conditions lead to excess sugar in the blood. Another risk factor is having a family history of the disease.

Children with type 2 diabetes are usually diagnosed during the early teen years. During this time, teens bodies are growing and developing rapidly and the hormones released during puberty can make it harder than usual for the body to use the insulin correctly.

How to Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Eating a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Children need to eat healthy meals with appropriate portions to support growth and prevent weigh gain.

        * The meal plan should spread carbohydrates throughout the day to prevent high blood sugar after meals.

Research has also shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.

        * The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should avoid intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. These drinks include: regular soda, fruit punch, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and sweet tea.

Children (ages 6-17) should spend one hour each day doing moderate to vigorous activity.

        * They should also limit the amount of time they watch TV, use the computer, play video games, and talk and text on their cell phones.

While some of the factors that lead to type 2 diabetes in children cannot be controlled, we can help prevent the spread of this disease by assuring children adhere to a balanced and nutritious diet, avoid sugary drinks, and get plenty of exercise.

A great resource to help the younger students learn about the right way to eat is MarshMedia's Go Slow Whoa! In this program students join Jonathan Apple, Turkey Sandwich, Crunchy Carrot, and Skim Milk to find all the right answers about good nutrition, while Pepperoni Pizza, Candy Bar, Jelly Doughnut, and Soda Pop don't have a clue. Wacky game show host Lance Manley and his animated contestants explore GO, SLOW, and WHOA foods and how these concepts can help kids eat wisely.

For the older students, Good Things First: Nutrition Edition is a great resource. In this program, registered dietician Joan O'keefe focuses on the importance of breakfast, which research shows is linked to body weight and academic or cognitive function. By teaching students about eating the right breakfast, why certain foods are good for us, and helping them apply that knowledge to each day's consumption, Joan firmly believes we can return our children to good health.

MarshMedia carries a full line of puberty education programs and nutrition programs that that promote healthy eating and exercise,