There is nothing more devastating for parents to find out that their child has developed diabetes or is at risk of it.
Did you know diabetes has emerged as a major health concern for Indian children? According to an ICMR study, around 95,600 children in India suffer from type-1 diabetes below the age of 14 years and nearly 16,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Diabetes in most children is type 1 – hence, it is also known as juvenile diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes is also on the rise in children, primarily due to obesity.
While diabetes type 1 and type 2 can be managed under a doctor’s care, your primary aim should be to prevent it in your children. This is because diabetes is a preventable disease.
Here are some ways to protect your children against the risk of diabetes:
- Disciplined Exercise Schedule
Due to academic pressure and increased screen time, an increasing number of children are living a sedentary lifestyle. Such a lifestyle leads to several health issues, which in turn can increase the risk of diabetes.
Make sure your child gets at least 30-60 minutes of physical exercise every day. Physical exercise regulates the function of insulin, which is a vital element in diabetes control and prevention. The World Health Organization (WHO) has specified elaborate guidelines on the minimum physical activity requirement age-wise in children.
- Healthy Diet
The consumption of junk and processed food by Indian children has increased over the last few years. However, it is a known fact that such foods are loaded with unhealthy fats and empty calories. They are also low on nutritional value. Poor dietary choices can enhance the risk of diabetes in children.
Your children’s diet should be wholesome and balanced. It should include plenty of vegetables, fruits, lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds, etc. They should also stay hydrated and drink adequate water or healthy, low-sugar/sugarless beverages throughout the day.
- Adequate Sleep
Various studies have shown that poor sleep habits can negatively impact blood sugar levels and increase the risk of diabetes.
Children need at least 7-12 hours of sleep, depending on their age. Check out these tips to help your children sleep better.
- Example Setting
It is not going to help if you ask your children to follow a healthy lifestyle but don’t adapt it yourself. Make sure you practice what you preach.
Apart from the above tips, it is advisable to take your children for routine medical check-ups at least once a year. This will enable early detection of diabetes or any other illness and start necessary treatment or preventive care immediately.
If you want to consult a paediatrician to know more about diabetes in children, click here.