According to Diabetes SA, the number of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is alarmingly on the rise.
Diabetes SA spokesperson Margot McCumisky was quoted by Times Live saying that this increase offers cause for concern.
“Before, it was very rare to find a child with type 2 diabetes, which is why it has always been called ‘late onset diabetes’,” she stated.
“But now, increasingly, with more and more children being overweight, we are seeing this disease affecting them.”
According to the American Diabetes Association, the risk of diabetes in children can be minimised by weight control. As difficult as it may be to encourage your child to be more active and eat healthily, it’s imperative to encourage healthy habits in your child from an early age.
A 2014 Healthy Active Kids report by Discovery found that South African children were leading unhealthy lives. The study also found that two thirds of South African children ate fast food at least three times a week.
Not only do our youth have bad eating habits, but they also spend a large part of their time watching TV, instead of being active.
This doesn’t just affect children, but has also been linked to weight problems later on in life. A recent global study has revealed that one in eight adults are obese.
“Over the past 40 years, we have changed from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight,” said Senior Author on the study Professor Majid Ezzati from the School of Public Health at Imperial College in London.
“The number of people across the globe whose weight poses a serious threat to their health is greater than ever before.”
While the news of children as young as five getting diabetes might be alarming, there are ways of decreasing the risk. Encouraging kids to eat healthily, teaching them smart snacking solutions, portion control and motivating them to participate in extra-mural activities can all aid in lowering their risk.