Type 2 Diabetes in Children (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Healthy meals, physical activity, and weight control can help prevent diabetes or can prevent or delay complications if your child has diabetes. A registered dietitian can help you build a healthy meal plan for your child. Your doctor, exercise specialist, or certified diabetes educator also can help your child find ways to become more physically active.
Weight loss is appropriate if your child is overweight and he or she has reached adult height. In some severe cases, weight loss before your child reaches his or her full adult height may be needed. See the Interactive Tool: What Is Your Child's BMI?
Having a blood sugar level that is higher than normal but not yet at the level of diabetes (prediabetes) increases a child's risk for type 2 diabetes. One study found that 13% of adolescents who were very overweight had high blood sugar.6 If your child has prediabetes, eating a healthy diet and increasing physical exercise may make his or her blood sugar return to a normal range and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. Your child will still need to see a doctor regularly to check for signs of the disease.
Studies have shown that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in adults.7 But experts are not sure whether lifestyle changes will have the same effect in children. Studies on preventing type 2 diabetes in children and teens are ongoing. Some clinical trials show that a program of physical activity and healthy eating can decrease insulin resistance and control blood glucose.8
Diabetes prevention may begin in infancy: some evidence shows that breast-feeding lowers a child's risk of developing diabetes.9
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