Health Plus: Alarming rates of diabetes in children - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Alarming rates of diabetes in children


It is an alarming statistic.

One in three children born in the year 2000 and later will get diabetes.

In Health Plus, what you can do now to help prevent the disease from impacting your family.

If you think of diabetes as an old person's disease, think again.

The often chronic and lifelong condition comes in two forms Type 1 or Type 2.

 "Type 1 is the failure of the pancreas to make insulin and it's caused by an auto-immune disorder like an attack on the pancreas. Type 2 is an insulin resistance from the outer tissues," Dr. Angela Townsend, Covenant Clinic pediatrician.

High obesity rates are behind the rise in young people getting Type 2 diabetes--a type once reserved for adults.

"We know the percentage of children that are overweight is skyrocketing and that's driving the diabetes epidemic also,"Mary Steffensmeier, Covenant dietitian.

Dietitians say prevention comes from what you eat and how much you move.

"If you have a parent with diabetes you're already in a 30-50% risk of having diabetes. Physical activity is still one tool they can use. And then to try to stay as close to their optimal body weight by eating healthy and healthy portions, healthy servings," she said.

Pediatricians hope families heed this advice so more young people don't end up with a diabetes diagnosis.

"So you can reverse Type 2 diabetes if you catch it early by getting the kids to exercise more, by limiting their carbohydrates in their diet. They don't really go on a diabetes diet; they actually just go on a healthy diet."

Diabetes support groups are on-going at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo.

Adults with the disease are encouraged to bring young people to the educational meetings.

Call Covenant at 319-272-7200 and ask for Diabetes Services to learn more.

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