World Diabetes Day 2021: Diabetes is a debilitating, chronic and progressive disease that can damage all organs of the body. All the food we eat is converted to glucose and distributed to cells through the blood. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which acts as a key to facilitating the absorption of glucose energy by the cells. However, when the insulin produced is insufficient, the glucose keeps circulating in the bloodstream, elevating the body’s blood sugar levels. High sugar levels can cause many other complications like heart disease, hypertension, kidney disease, etc.
India is the diabetes capital of the world, with the second-highest number of diabetics after China. As per a study released in July 2021, 12.3% of children (10-19 years) were found to be pre-diabetic/ diabetic in India. India has the highest young population in the world, which is vulnerable to type 2 diabetes, due to genetic predisposition, unhealthy lifestyle, fatty and sugar-rich diet and lack of physical activity, besides other risk factors. An unhealthy lifestyle is a modifiable risk factor and can be corrected.
Dr. Angeli Misra, Director, Lifeline Laboratory shares valuable input on the same. Dr, Angeli Misra says,” Encourage children and adolescents to follow a healthy lifestyle comprising a healthy balanced diet coupled with an active lifestyle.” Dr. Angeli also shared tips to prevent diabetes among children and adolescents.
Here are Tips for Children and Adolescents to Beat Type 2 Diabetes:
- Discourage children to go lax and become overweight. Avoid obesity and lose the extra pounds. Experts claim that losing only 7-10% of body weight will reduce the chance of diabetes by 50%.
- Balanced diet
- Encourage children to have a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet:
- Go for multigrain bread and multigrain atta flour (complex carbohydrates take longer to assimilate in the body and keep the metabolism busy), and avoid white flour products like bread, biscuits, cookies, cakes, and confectionery;
- Have plenty of fresh green leafy vegetables and other colorful vegetables packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber (spinach, broccoli, fenugreek leaves, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, tomato, okra, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, capsicum, mushrooms, peas, peppers, carrots, beans, etc.). Avoid excess intake of starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato and tapioca.
- Do not forget to have fruits, nuts and seeds like apple, pear, papaya, musk melon, oranges, guava, lime, pomegranate, etc., and seeds like chia and sunflower seeds. Avoid excess intake of mango, sapota and lychee.
- Avoid or cut down on white sugar, candies, chocolates and sugary foods.
- Avoid junk food, fatty and deep fried foods like French fries, samose, pakora etc. and go easy on saturated fat like ghee, butter, and hydrogenated vegetable cooking oil.
- Opt for healthy, low-fat and nutritious snacks like murmura chana, baked or air fried foods. Encourage them to eat salads and soups.
- Avoid eating out too often.
- Physical activity
- Encourage children to be as physically active as possible.
- Encourage them to pursue at least one sport seriously.
- At least an hour of walking, cycling, jogging, skipping, or playing a sport daily.
- Walk to short destinations.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Curtail the time spent on TV/social media.
- Discourage them from smoking.
- Discourage sedentary habits.
- Manage stress
- Teach them to combat stress through meditation, yoga and deep breathing exercises for at least 15-20 minutes daily.
- Encourage them to take up a hobby like painting, music, dance, carpentry, etc.
- Annual screening of health status, especially if there is a family history of diabetes.