Preventing Type 2 In Your Kids

Lifestyle changes are the key

| Oct 1, 2005

One of the most alarming studies to be published in recent years was the prediction that one in three children born after the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes during his or her lifetime.

Given this forthcoming epidemic, it is important to ask, can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

The answer, clearly, is yes.

Nearly One in Three Kids Are Overweight

In a recent study, 30 percent of U.S. adolescents aged 12 to 19 were found to be overweight. Some of the associations noted in this study were:

  • Ethnicity (there was more obesity in Mexican American boys and African American girls).
  • Children who get the least physical activity are more likely to become overweight or obese.
  • The more hours of television a child watches, the greater the chances that he or she will become obese.

Lifestyle Changes Are the Key

Let’s assume that your child is overweight and you have a positive family history of type 2 diabetes. What can you do to keep your high-risk child free of type 2 diabetes?

There are numerous lifestyle changes that you can help your child make that will make a difference. The NIH-sponsored type 2 diabetes prevention trial demonstrated a 58 percent reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in a high-risk group using lifestyle changes that led to increased activity and weight loss.

See below for my 10 suggested lifestyle changes for children and adolescents.

10 Ways to Keep Kids Type 2-Free

Dr. Tanenberg’s suggested lifestyle changes for children and adolescents

  1. Have children screened regularly for prediabetes.
  2. Have their height and weight recorded, their waist circumference measured and their body mass index (BMI) calculated every year to see how they compare with their peers. (For a free childhood growth chart and BMI calculator, see
  3. Serve fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal.
  4. Serve food on individual plates rather than “family style” for better portion control.
  5. Have a “no TV during mealtime” policy—and stick to it.
  6. No snacks after 9 p.m. on school nights and 11 p.m. on weekends.
  7. Find an organized sport or other physical activity they enjoy doing for at least 30 minutes per day.
  8. Buy a pedometer for the child to wear and reward him or her for walking every 5 or 10 miles.
  9. Limit television to one hour per day on school days and two hours on weekends.
  10. If your child is overweight, set realistic weekly targets for weight loss. Offer non-food rewards when targets are met and when the child keeps the weight off for an entire month.

What about medications to prevent type 2 diabetes?

The NIH-sponsored type 2 diabetes prevention trial also demonstrated that metformin successfully prevented diabetes in 31 percent of the patients.

Unpublished data indicate that the glitazone drug used in that study (similar to Actos or Avandia) was successful in 70 percent of the cases.

All these drugs are considered “off label” when prescribed for a nondiabetic individual. It would be much easier to justify one of these medications if your child meets the diagnostic criteria for the metabolic syndrome, prediabetes or polycystic ovarian disorder. If so, you need to ask your physician if he or she is willing to prescribe them to prevent diabetes in your child.

Your doctor may agree to try medication in addition to the recommended lifestyle changes.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Kids & Teens, Type 2 Issues, Type 2 Medications

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.