Childhood Obesity and Diabetes are Linked

The younger generation is getting more overweight and obese with each passing day. The main culprit is these youngsters’ unhealthy lifestyle. Lack of physical activity and not eating home cooked meals are becoming a normal routine.

Eating fast food meals and spending most of the time in front of the computer is a norm nowadays. These are also reasons why children are becoming more overweight or obese.

Regardless of your age and race, obesity comes along with numerous health risks.

One of the biggest health risks that obese individuals have to face is diabetes. To be more specific, it is the Type 2 diabetes that poses a risk to children as well as adults.

A new study has revealed that the number of Americans afflicted with diabetes will double from 23.7 million in 2009 to a steep rise 44.1 in 2034. In turn, the costs associated with care and treatment for diabetic patients will triple from $45 billion in 2010 to $ 171 billion in 25 years.

According to Dr. Michael O’Grady, author and senior fellow at the
National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, found that obesity is the chief cause of the predicted rise in new diabetic cases. More than 50% of the Medicare expenses will be spent on diabetes treatment.

Read on to know more about the link between childhood obesity and diabetes.

Risks of Type 2 Diabetes

This type of diabetes increases your blood sugar levels. This high level of sugar cannot be regulated and controlled by the hormone insulin, which is secreted from the pancreas. The pancreas cannot produce high amounts of insulin to regulate the enhanced sugar levels in your blood. The sugar levels in the blood increase due to consumption of unhealthy meals consisting of carbohydrates and sugars. These are the major components of all the fast food meals.

Type 2 diabetes is ranked number 6 of diseases killing Americans.

The majority of the children are developing this condition at a very early age. If your child I overweight or obese, you should check his/her blood sugar levels to be on the safe side.

Weight loss and lowering of blood sugar levels go hand in hand. You should help your child in losing weight by first becoming a good role model. Include plenty of green leafy vegetables and fruits in your child’s diet. Initiate various physical exercises that appeal to children. You can also find a sport which you both like, to be more physically active.

Gestational Diabetes Can Increase the Risk of Obesity in Children

Research shows that an expectant woman’s hormonal imbalances could have a serious impact on her developing child.“Hormonal imprinting” is a process in which the hormones that a fetus is exposed to in the womb can impact whether or not the child is going to suffer from a hormonal imbalance leading to diabetes. It is therefore very essential that the expecting mother create an environment conducive for the health of the unborn baby. She can do this by eating nutritious foods and cutting down on the amount of fat consumed. Taking care of oneself in pregnancy is also very important.

Various studies were conducted to determine the impact of gestational diabetes during pregnancy on a baby, and the findings were that this disorder increases the risk of obesity. 10,000 pregnant women and their children up to the age of 7 were tracked as part of the study. They found that the higher a woman’s blood sugar during pregnancy, the more likely her child was to become obese during those early years of life. It was established that effectively identifying and taking care of gestational diabetes reduced the future risk of obesity in the child. The main hypothesis of the research indicates that there is a direct connection between what the mother eats and the health of the child. Particularly, if the mother is a victim of overindulgence, her baby’s future life and health are at great risk.

Apart from mother, the father’s diet and weight can also be risk factors for the child.Researchers at the Garvan Institute, UNSW’s School of Medical Sciences and Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and the University of Adelaide have found that the diet and weight of the father at the time of conception can be risk factors diabetes mellitus or Type 2 diabetes for a child in the later years.
The results of the findings are published in the October 2010 issue of the journal Nature. They will be discussed at the New Zealand and Australia Obesity Society meeting in Sydney.

Are Father’s Diet and Weight Risk Factors for Diabetes Mellitus in Children?

  • The researchers were aware of the fact that being overweight during pregnancy played a major role making the child prone to various health issues.
  • This study proved the link between the father’s obesity and the child developing diabetes for the first time.
  • As a part of the research study, male mice were fed high fat diet to develop obesity and glucose intolerance.
  • These mice were made to mate with normal weight female mice in the laboratory.
  • The offspring was found to have developed impaired insulin secretion and glucose tolerance as young adults.
  • The researchers believe that fathers who eat high calorie diets have changes in their sperm.
  • The result is alteration in the expression and function of genes without any changes in the DNA sequence.

Significance of the Research on Risk Factors Diabetes Mellitus in Child

The study enhanced the understanding of the role played by environmental factors on a child’s physiology and metabolism. More significantly, it suggested a new factor in the obesity epidemic. Further research is focused on verifying the results of the study on male offspring.


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