The most serious and widespread health problem facing children today is obesity. Overweight children are at a much higher risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes, an illness formerly only seen in overweight adults. The risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes increases if you have a family history.
By 2025, it is estimated that 380 million people worldwide will be diabetic!
Type 2 Diabetes often has a slow onset, so may only manifest years later. Warning signs include increased thirst, more frequent or night time urination, blurry vision and abnormal fatigue.
With firm, loving support of involved parents, a child doesn’t need to become the victim of a lifestyle of poor food choices, and as a result, poor health and disease. We are role models to our children in so many ways, and good nutrition and healthy food choices are an integral part of this.
Positive involvement in a child’s diet is essential in steering children in the right direction in terms of healthy food choices. If children are taught to balance junk foods, sugary drinks and refined foods more effectively, and replace these with whole foods, that contain real nutrients that build the body and supply valuable nutrients, they will grow to be strong, healthy adults.
Children also need to be taught the importance of regular exercise, as this helps to stabilise blood glucose levels, which is important in regulating appetite better and controlling obesity long-term.
If you are concerned about your child’s eating patterns or weight, consider consulting a Dietitian. For a Dietitian in your area, visit www.adsa.org.za (Association for Dietitians in SA).
By Julie Peacock, Registered Dietitian.