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Health Raps: Diabetes

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Children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are generally between 10 and 19 years old, obese, insulin-resistant, and had a strong family history for type 2 diabetes. Those affected belong to all ethnic groups. I think this is a bit too technical. See below for another way to phrase.

As more children and adolescents become overweight and are less physically active, type 2 diabetes is on the rise. New diagnoses of type 2 diabetes are being made more often in children and adolescents 10-19 years of age in all ethnic groups. Many of these children are overweight, have a strong family history of diabetes and have problems with their body's response to insulin.

The epidemics of obesity and the low level of physical activity among young people, as well as exposure to diabetes in utero, may be major contributors to the increase in type 2 diabetes during childhood and adolescence.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem among our children. It is difficult to detect type 2 diabetes in children because it can go undiagnosed for a long time. Children with the disease may have no symptoms or mild symptoms and need blood tests for diagnosis. Families should seek the advice of their doctor in order for a full evaluation to be done and a diagnosis made.

One way to help control type 2 diabetes in children is through diet and exercise.

The Diabetes Food Pyramid has six sections for food groups. These sections vary in size. The largest group -- grains, beans, and starchy vegetables -- is on the bottom. This means that you should eat more servings of grains, beans, and starchy vegetables than of any of the other foods. The smallest group -- fats, sweets, and alcohol -- is at the top of the pyramid. This tells you to eat very few servings from these food groups.

Diabetic children should eat servings from all the food groups other than the fats, sweets, and alcohol, every day.  They should eat the recommended number of servings on the pyramid within each food group.  The exact number of servings needed depends on your child's diabetes goals, calorie and nutrition needs, lifestyle, and the foods you like to eat. Divide the number of servings your child should eat among the meals and snacks they eat each day. The Diabetes Food Pyramid makes it easier to remember what to eat.  For a healthy meal plan that is based on your child's individual needs, you should work with a registered dietitian (RD) with expertise in diabetes management and with your family's doctor.


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