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Health Information For Parents
A balanced diet and an active lifestyle can help all kids maintain a healthy weight. For kids with diabetes, diet and exercise are even more important because weight can affect diabetes and diabetes can affect weight.
This is true for kids and teens with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
In diabetes, the body doesn’t use glucose properly. Glucose, a sugar, is the main source of energy for the body. Glucose levels are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made in the pancreas. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin.
Undiagnosed or untreated type 1 diabetes can cause weight loss. Glucose builds up in the bloodstream if insulin isn’t available to move it into the body’s cells. When glucose levels become high, the kidneys work to get rid of unused sugar through urine (pee). This causes weight loss due to dehydration and loss of calories from the sugar that wasn’t used as energy.
Kids who develop type 1 diabetes often lose weight even though they have a normal or increased appetite. Once kids are diagnosed and treated for type 1 diabetes, weight usually returns to normal.
Developing type 1 diabetes isn’t related to being overweight, but keeping a healthy weight is important. Too much fat tissue can make it hard for insulin to work properly, leading to both higher insulin needs and trouble controlling blood sugar.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, but the insulin doesn’t work in the body like it should and blood sugar levels get too high. Most kids and teens are overweight when they’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Also, weight gain in people with type 2 diabetes makes blood sugar levels even harder to control.
People with type 2 diabetes have a condition called insulin resistance. They’re able to make insulin, but their bodies can’t use it properly to move glucose into the cells. So, the amount of glucose in the blood rises. The pancreas then makes more insulin to try to overcome this problem.
Eventually, the pancreas can wear out from working so hard and might not be able to make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels within a normal range. At this point, a person has type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance gets better with a combination of weight loss and exercise. For people with type 2 diabetes, getting to a healthy weight and exercising regularly makes it easier to reach target blood sugar levels. And, in some cases, the body’s ability to control blood sugar may even return to normal.
Insulin resistance can happen in people without diabetes, but it puts them at a higher risk for developing the disease. For overweight people without type 2 diabetes, losing weight and exercising can cut their risk of developing the disease.
When kids with diabetes reach and maintain a healthy weight, they feel better and have more energy. Their diabetes symptoms decrease and their blood sugar levels are better controlled. They also may be less likely to develop complications from diabetes, like heart disease.
Doctors use body mass index (BMI) to determine if a person’s weight is healthy. If your doctor recommends that your child lose weight to control diabetes, a weight management plan can hel. Even if your child’s BMI is in the healthy range, the doctor can help you come up with a healthy meal and exercise plan.
Your emotional support is an important part of helping your child get to a healthy weight. Overweight kids can have low self-esteem or feel guilty. Try to stay positive and talk about being “healthy” rather than use terms like “fat” or “thin.” Help your child understand that all healthy people need to actively manage their weight — even you.
And remember that kids pick up on parental attitudes and actions about weight and eating — after all, you buy the food and cook the meals. By buying healthy foods and cooking nutritious meals, you provide the tools your child needs to get to a healthy weight.
Here are some common problems to watch for and discuss with your doctor:
By following the doctor’s advice about food and exercise, your child can reach and maintain a healthy weight. Kids who reach a healthy weight feel better and find that diabetes management is easier. They feel like they’re more in control of their diabetes, their bodies, and their health.
For any help along the way, just ask — your diabetes health care team can offer tips and advice on coping with weight-control challenges.
Does your child have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Learn how to manage the disease and keep your child healthy.
Our Diabetes Center provides information and advice for teens about treating and living with diabetes.
Diabetes means a problem with insulin, an important hormone in the body. Find out how children with diabetes can stay healthy and do the normal stuff kids like to do.
Parents want to protect their kids from everything, which is virtually impossible, of course. But can you prevent your child from getting diabetes?
Weight can influence diabetes, and diabetes can influence weight. Managing weight can really make a difference in a person’s diabetes management plan.
Being at a healthy weight is a good idea for everyone, but it’s even more important for kids with diabetes.
A couple of pounds of extra body fat are not a health risk for most people. But when people are severely overweight, it can cause health problems.
When you have a child with diabetes, you and your family have a lot to learn, but you don’t have to go it alone. Your child’s diabetes health care team can help.
Every year in the United States, 13,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. With some practical knowledge, you can become your child’s most important ally in learning to live with the disease.
One of the biggest questions guys and girls have as they grow and develop is whether they’re the right weight. One place to start is by learning about body mass index, or BMI.
Doctors use body mass index (BMI) measurements to assess a child’s physical growth in relation to other kids the same age. Here’s how to calculate BMI and understand what the numbers mean.
Dining out is probably a part of your social scene. If you have diabetes, you can pretty much eat the same foods as your friends and family. You just have to keep track of what you eat and enjoy certain foods in moderation.
Everybody loves to eat out. Can kids with diabetes go out to restaurants?
Dining out should be fun for you and your child with diabetes. The key is to find out the nutritional value of food options and keep portions healthy.
Taking medicines is a major part of staying healthy if you have diabetes because they help you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
People with diabetes don’t need to be on strict diets, but do need to pay attention to what they eat and when. Crack open the cookbooks and surf to your favorite recipe website because it’s time to plan meals that you love!
Meal plans help people with diabetes eat right and stay healthy. What’s a meal plan?
Kids with diabetes don’t have to follow a special diabetes diet, but they may need to pay more attention to when they eat and how much is on their plates.
Kids who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will need a diabetes management plan to help them manage the condition and stay healthy and active.
We use the words “oveweight” and “obese” a lot, but they actually have medical meanings. Find out how doctors diagnose these conditions and what they mean for a person’s health.
Preventing kids from becoming overweight means making choices in the way your family eats and exercises, and how you spend time together.
Losing weight can feel like a challenge, no matter how much we want it. It can sometimes seem like our minds are working against us. That’s where weight-management counselors can help.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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