Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Diabesity: Prevention Is Possible

By: Dr. Linda Carson

We recently posted a blog by Lindsay Dawson who shared a very personal account of learning that she had a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes when she was young. That blog made me reflect on my own experience with diabetes. My sister was diagnosed later in life with Type 2 diabetes, and since then she has lost much of her vision and one of her legs to this dreaded disease. In the past 15 years she has managed her diabetes with lifestyle changes and much healthier eating.

Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes but in recent years, the age of onset has moved younger and younger. Children as young as six have been shown to have elevated blood pressure and cholesterol. Childhood obesity has steadily increased over the past three decades. An interesting book written by Francine Kauffman, a pediatric endocrinologist, describes the consequences of our lifestyles of convenience. She says that we have designed comfy environments and foods (non-foods) that are going to do us in.

Dr. Kauffman also warns that diabetes and obesity are so linked together that soon physicians will be diagnosing them as a single syndrome known as diabesity. In fact, Diabesity is the name of her book. It is written for parents to help them understand ways to prevent both obesity and diabetes in children. The CDC has published trend maps that show how the prevalence of both obesity and diabetes has revealed a similar progression in recent years.
http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/center/slides.html
Experts agree that many cases of Type 2 diabetes and obesity can be prevented or minimized with healthy nutrition and physical activity. To be sure that your family is getting the preventive benefits from your food, try to eat more leafy green veggies, beans, and fruits. The fiber, vitamins, and minerals in plant-based food are what we should have everyday to nourish body and mind. Eating natural, unprocessed foods that are nutrient dense rather than calorie dense, will contribute to healthy metabolism and blood sugar levels.
For many, a daily diet of fresh fruits and veggies will also result in healthy weight loss! Wondering how to know if a food is nutrient dense? Think of it this way, if it is grown as a plant, try to eat more of that. If it is manufactured or processed in a “plant”, try to eat less of that. The processing takes away nutrition. And when selecting or preparing food for your family, remember the caution from Dr. Kauffman: We’ve designed environments and diets out of convenience that one day soon will do us in. Everyone is busy and convenience is wonderful, but lets all try to make healthier choices for our children and families.

So feed them well and move them more. Listen to a song by the same title and let us know what strategies you do to promote plant flavors, plant protein, and plant fiber?

About the Author: Linda Carson, Ed. D, is the founder and CEO of Choosy Kids, LLC, and the Ware Distinguished Professor Emerita at West Virginia University. An award winning, nationally recognized expert, Dr. Carson has devoted her career to promoting healthy preferences for young children and the adults who make decisions on their behalf. Click here to learn more about Linda.

17 comments :

  1. My mom is one of these, she was diagnosed a few years ago and unfortunately doesn't take care of herself as she should. I try to give my little one healthy foods, sometimes too much. I just want him to be exposed to as many good foods as possible. Thanks for shedding a light on this horrible illness.

    Young Love Mommy

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    1. I am sorry this touched close to home for you. But you are doing a great thing by even just offering your child healthy options! He will learn how great they taste and their importance as he gets older.

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  2. I have always thought this!! I'm pretty careful with what I feed my daughter because i know too many people these days with diabetes:-/

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    1. It is awesome that we have the research available to tell us which foods we should and should not eat but I just love the paragraph about plants. I thought it would be easy to share that with children.

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  3. Great post! It's so sad that we are having such a problem with this. Hopefully the more people become aware, the better.

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    1. You you are right that we need to build more awareness! Share share share!

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  4. Great post and I think this needs to be shared so more parents can know! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. My mom has been living with diabetes for about 20 years now. It's sad to see how her health is slowly deteriorating because of this disease. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear about your mother. It is so sad but at least we are spreading the word and trying to bring awareness to this disease. We need to find a cure!

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  6. What a scary thought - diabesity. I hope people start to manage their eating habits better. I'm lucky I was raised in a home where we ate healthy foods, so it's normal for me to do the same with my little family.

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    1. That is awesome that you were raised like that so it comes naturally to you. A lot of parents struggle whether they are just not sure how to cook or don't have time so they don't make the best choices :(

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  7. I absolutely agree with you on this, great post

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  8. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful post and positive message - prevention is possible!!

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