Dear Dr. Cory,
Why do kids get diabetes?
Some kids get diabetes because it runs in their families. This is called Type I diabetes. Researchers believe that a virus or something else in the environment may cause the disease to start. There is no cure yet for Type I diabetes and no way to prevent it.
Type II diabetes is often caused by being overweight. In the past, almost all the people with Type II diabetes were adults. Today, many children have it. Getting too little exercise and eating too many high-calorie or fast-food meals make it easy for kids to gain weight.
Children who are overweight, obese, or have a family history of Type II diabetes, have a high risk for developing Type II diabetes. Keeping a healthy weight, eating nutritious meals, and being active every day can help
delay or even prevent this disease.
To help prevent Type II diabetes:
• Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole-grain breads and cereals, and low-fat dairy foods. Drink water often.
•Get plenty of fiber; it may help control your blood sugar.
•Avoid fast-food meals and ready-made or boxed meals.
• Limit sugary foods and drinks to avoid the extra calories that cause weight gain.
• Shop with your family for fresh fruits and vegetables that you like.
• Help your family plan dinner menus and eat dinner together often.
• Be very active for at least an hour and up to several hours each day.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and adult blindness. If not treated, it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you have a children's health question, Dr. Cory would like to hear from you.
Disclaimer: The Ask Dr. Cory health information is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to, and does not, provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult your family doctor when you have medical questions or concerns about you or your family's health. If this is an emergency, call 911, or contact emergency services in your area.