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Pediatric Care
Childhood Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
May 25, 2018

Recent research studies have revealed that a gene known to cause Type 2 diabetes has been found to increase the risk of being overweight during childhood. This particular gene is acting during childhood that lays the foundation for the later development of type 2 diabetes. In order to combat overweight and obesity among children and adolescence, we (parents, teachers, physicians, researchers etc.,) should co ordinate and work together in the following areas to prevent them getting diabetes and other disorders in future.

Reasons and some signs that may help to determine if the child has or is at risk for childhood obesity:
  • Family history of obesity-related health risks such as early cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure levels and type 2 diabetes.
  • Family history of cigarette smoking and sedentary behaviors.
    Skin disorders like heat rashes, dermatitis and acanthosis nigricans (ugly or dirty skin on the neck and axilla region).
  • Psychological / Psychiatric Issues like poor self-esteem, negative self-image, depression, and withdrawal from peers have been associated with obesity.
  • Patterns of sedentary behavior (such as too much television viewing) and low physical activity levels.
    Low self confidence and inferiority complex may lead to over eating, anorexia nervosa etc.,
A healthy well-balanced diet for children

Parents concerned about their child’s weight should encourage a variety of fresh, nutritious foods in his or her diet.

The following tips may be useful:
  • Starchy foods, which are rich in “complex carbohydrates”, are bulky relative to the amount of calories they contain. This makes them filling and nutritious.
  • Sources such as bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and chapatti provide half the energy in a child’s diet.
  • Instead of high-fat foods like chocolate, biscuits, cakes and crisps, try healthier alternatives such as fresh fruit, crusty bread or crackers.
  • Try to grill or bake foods instead of frying. Burgers, fish fingers and sausages are just as tasty when grilled, but have a lower fat content. Oven chips are lower in fat than fried chips.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks that are high in sugar. Substitute them with fresh juices diluted with water or sugar-free alternatives.
  • A healthy breakfast of a low-sugar cereal (e.g. whole meal wheat biscuits) with milk, plus a piece of fruit is a good start to the day.
  • Instead of sweets, offer dried fruit or tinned fruit in natural juice. Frozen yoghurt is an alternative to ice cream.
Healthy Eating Environment

A well planned meal with foods that contribute to children’s well-being can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. To make meal time pleasant, create a healthy food environment. When children are exposed to healthy foods early, they are more likely to develop habits that support healthy weight as they grow. Set meal time, choose the foods offered, and assure an inviting place to eat. Encourage eating slowly, with enjoyment. Avoid forcing children to eat. Help the children participate in the meal by serving themselves and provide wholesome choices and allow them to decide which food and how much to eat. Completely avoid TV watching and computer games while eating.

SAMPLE DIET PATTERN
  • Breakfast – Idli-3/Dosai-2/Roti-3/Chapathi-3/Upma/popa-2 cups with chutney or dhal-1 cup, vegetable – 1 cup, milk -1 cup (350 kcal)
  • Midmorning – Roasted/sprouted gram – ½ cup, fruit – 1 or 2 = 100gms, biscuits – 3 to 4, vegetable sandwich – 2 slices (100 kcal)
  • Lunch- Rice – 2 cups/ Roti -2 and Rice – 1 cup/Phulka – 4/ with dhal – 1 cup/Sambar- 1 cup, vegetable – 1 cup, greens – 1 cup/egg -1/chicken/fish-100gms (450 kcal)
  • Evening – Dosai -1/Sandwich – 2 slices/Roasted grams- 1 cup/puffed rice with roasted grams/vegetable cutlet – 2/Idli upma – 1 cup (200 – 250 kcal)
  • Dinner- same as lunch + milk – 1 cup, (500 kcal)
  • Fat – 20ml-180kcal
  • Total calories- 1800 kcal

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