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Monday, October 16, 2006

Diabetes Prevention Education Should Start Young!

Juvenile diabetes is not the only reason to worry about diet and habits of children. Young people who develop tastes for foods high in fat and sugar, are likely to suffer from obesity in adult life, and could spend years in pre-diabetes before developing full-blown type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes in children, and the growing incidence of type 2 diabetes in people of all age groups, is a serious public health threat throughout the developed world. There is much that parents and teachers can do to reverse this unfortunate situation. It is now common knowledge that physical activity is a must during both childhood and adolescence. Young people who develop likings for sports and outdoor games are likely to try and find some time for such pastimes in adult life as well. Though exercise can make deep inroads in to the incidence of diabetes in children, snacks and beverages available in and around schools should also be taken in to account.

Choosing something to eat and drink away from the strict eyes of elders is a common pleasure to which most children look forward. Vending machines and retail outlets in educational institutions and on the way home tempt children to stray from healthy diets. Though an occasional indulgence is harmless, adults and authorities should make special efforts to put low-fat snacks, juices without added sugar, and plenty of fruit and vegetables within easy reach of young people.

It is not a matter of availability alone. Awareness counts for a great deal, and children should know about the nature of diabetes, and the principles of nutrition. The food pyramid, for example, is a simple and attractive way of explaining to children the various types of food, and how to balance them in daily diet.

Send me an email or leave a post here if you would like a link to a free color poster on the food pyramid.


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