Diabetes on rise among obese kids

The number of children who are affected with diabetes because of obesity or sedentary lifestyle is on the rise, according to doctors.

“In the last four to five years,  the number of children being affected with Type 2 diabetes has gone up from one per cent to five per cent. This is primarily because of bad food habits and sedentary lifestyle,” said a paediatric endocrinologist of AIIMS.

“A few other risk factors also expose these children to this form of diabetes. These are family history of diabetes or the mother having diabetes during pregnancy,” the endocrinologist said.

Parents of children, who are even slightly overweight, need to screen them for diabetes. “For children above 10 years of age, the screening should be done every year,” the endocrinologist added.

The Type 2 diabetes is mostly common in overweight adolescents in which there is a resistance to insulin.

However, Type 1 diabetes still remains the most predominant type of diabetes. Though parents can do nothing to prevent this type of diabetes in children, early medical intervention is required so that secondary complications do not arise.

“This form of diabetes is characterised by excess urine output and weight loss. High sugar level trigger conditions like high blood pressure, neuro-vascular diseases, eye complications, hypoglycemia,” the endocrinologist added.

Children in the age-group of four-five years and 11-14 are most vulnerable to Type 1 diabetes.

“The pattern of Type 1 diabetes in juveniles has not changed over the years,” said Paediatrics Head Dr Alok Agarwal of Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital. Increasingly, adults in the age group of 20-25 years are also falling prey to diabetes as a lifestyle disease.

“Earlier, we received patients in the age group of 35-40 years for Type 2 diabetes. Nowadays, there are several people in the age group of 20-25 years who have diabetes due to decline in physical activities,” said Dr Rajiv Kapil, Head of the Department, Medicine, Lal Bahadur Shastri  Hospital.

Doctors said parents should pay enough attention to fight this alarming trend. The message to fight Type 2 diabetes is simple — getting rid of the sedentary lifestyle.
“Children as young as five-six years of age are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It is important for parents to manage weight of their children and educate them to lead a healthy lifestyle. They should maintain a healthy nutritious diet and be involved more in outdoor activities and games,” Dr C M Batra, Senior Consultant – Endocrinology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

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