Study finds growing diabetes epidemic among children

By Libby Cluett

Health care experts warn about serious and lasting health complications for future generations of Americans stemming from increasingly expanding children’s waistlines.

In an article in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Joyce Lee warns that the most damaging effects of childhood obesity have yet to surface.

Lee’s findings suggest childhood obesity will likely result in an epidemic of type 2 diabetes among young adults, which could lead to a greater number of diabetes complications, and ultimately, lower life expectancy.

“The full impact of the childhood obesity epidemic has yet to be seen because it can take up to 10 years or longer for obese individuals to develop type 2 diabetes,” said Lee, a member of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at Mott. “Children who are obese today are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes as young adults.”

“It use to be called Adult-Onset Diabetes and we saw it in adults, later in their life,” said Palo Pinto General Hospital’s Dr. Edgar Lockett. “Two years ago [a study revealed] 50 percent of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were age 18 and under.”

Lockett said the cause is not the quantity of food kids eat, but a “general trend toward poor nutrition.”

“[Americans] are literally starving with plenty of ‘food’ around,” he said, adding that the vast majority of diabetes cases are caused by poor nutritional choices.

“There’s no nutrition in the diet,” said Lockett. “Americans are eating the wrong fats, there’s an overabundance of corn syrup, white rice, white bread (white flour) and sugar in everyday diets.”

He said all of this “taxes the [body’s] system and can propagate the onset of type 2 diabetes.”

Lockett said the trend toward poorer nutrition began in the 1970s, with the onset of fast food and convenience foods.

“Each successive generation gets sicker quicker,” he said. “Children in general are becoming susceptible to disease,” Lockett said, because of their diets.

Lee’s recent article states that the longer a person has diabetes, the more likely he or she is to develop devastating complications.

“It’s hard to tell someone they can’t eat certain things,” said Lockett. However, he added, “If poorly regulated, diabetes causes organ damage, blindness, heart attacks, stroke and loss of limbs – starting with the lower extremities.”

He added that among other side effects, improper nutrition also leads to poor immune systems and an epidemic of asthma in children – seen younger than ever before – in addition to eventual type 2 diabetes.

Why should the community care about a potential epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children?

“First of all it will be a tremendous taxation of health care resources,” said Lockett. “That’s if [type 2 diabetes] is recognized [early]. Many cases go undiscovered.”

“Anytime we have this type of onslaught on the health care system, it diverts more healthcare dollars to something that is a preventable disease,” he added.

While he said there are genetic tendencies toward diabetes, Lockett maintains it’s a result of an accumulation of a lot of bad habits, “So the question is, ‘Is it really a disease?’”

Also on Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released guidelines, which have stirred debate among pediatricians. The guidelines suggest some children, as young as 8, be given cholesterol-lowering drugs to ward off future heart problems.

According to an Associated Press report, this is the strongest guidance ever given on the issue by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy also recommends low-fat milk for 1-year-olds and wider cholesterol testing.

Lockett calls prescribing statins for children, “the epitome of the ludicrous.”

“This sounds like a pharmaceutical-based initiative being promoted through the American Academy of Pediatrics,” he added.

He maintains that the issues surrounding diabetes and high cholesterol can be remedied without using drugs and instead implementing a plant-based diet.

“If it’s cancer, heart disease, diabetes, liver problems, there’s one diet that can impact everything,” he said. “Really there’s one disease – the cells of your organs are not functioning well. Two reasons for this are the lack of quality raw materials – ‘you are what you eat’ – and, or an accumulation of toxins or poisons.”

Lockett shared information from a study conducted by Dr. James Anderson who researched the effects of a diet consisting of high-fiber, high complex-carbohydrates and low in fats on 25 type1 diabetics and 25 type 2 diabetics.

“Whole plant foods and a cold cut or two a day was the basis of the diet,” cited Lockett.

He said he uses this study and findings from others in talks he gives, because of the results of the diet.

This includes:

• Type 1 patients had lowered insulin requirements by 40 percent and their cholesterol levels dropped by 30 percent.

• All but one Type 2 diabetics were able to get off their medication within a few weeks.

The University of Michigan Health System’s “Newswise” Web site and the Associated Press contributed to this article.


1 Comment

  1. The foods recommended for a diabetic diet to control blood sugar are good for those with diabetes and everyone else. This means that you and your family can eat the same healthy foods at the same time. However, for people with diabetes, the total amounts of carbohydrates consumed each day must be monitored carefully. Of the different components of nutrition, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, carbohydrates have the greatest influence on blood sugar levels. Most people with diabetes also have to monitor total fat consumption and protein intake also.
    To keep your blood sugar levels correct, you need to make healthy food choices, exercise regularly, and take the medicines your doctor prescribes.
    For more information about diabetes and how it affected me feel free to visit my website

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