Type 2 diabetes was regularly referred to as “adult onset diabetes,” since the disease generally began to appear during adulthood. In the last 20 years, however, the number of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has skyrocketed, presumably due to the epidemic of obesity and decreased physical activity among children.
If you suspect your child may be at high risk of developing diabetes, it’s important you have him or her tested by your health-care provider. At-risk children include those who are overweight or obese and those with diabetes in the family.
What can parents do to prevent childhood diabetes before it develops? The number one way is to encourage your child to be physically active. You can do this by planning regular family activities or by setting a good example with your own fitness routine. It’s also a good idea to encourage your child to turn off the computer or television every once in a while and get outdoors to play. And whether or not your child is carrying extra weight, be sure to boost his or her take of fresh whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.