Type 2 diabetes and obesity in teens are rising at alarming rates. A recent study looked at treatment options for teens who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the conclusions are just as alarming.
Of the 699 obese teens in the study who were diagnosed with diabetes, about 50% of them were unable to get their blood sugar levels under control during the 4 years they were studied. Doctors tested the affects of medications and lifestyle changes on the teens and neither medication nor medication plus lifestyle counseling was able to help approximately 50% of the teens.
What hope is there for diabetic teens?
Diabetes dramatically increases a variety of health risks including nerve damage, vision loss, limb amputation, stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. It can cause comas and even premature death.
If you have an obese or overweight teen, the key to helping save them from a life-long struggle with diabetes is prevention. Get them eating healthier and moving more. The "moving" part of the weight loss equation doesn't have to be straight-up exercise, (and in fact, many teens will dismiss even the mention of the "e" word). Here are some simple and fun ways to get your teen moving and on their way to a healthier life:
Get Your Teen Moving
- Sports - Although your teen may tell you they're not a "jock," that doesn't mean they can't play sports. There are plenty of sports leagues and teams outside of school. Just practicing with a sports team can help them drop the weight while teaching them about teamwork.
- Gardening - If your teen really isn't the sporty type, perhaps they could get into gardening. Depending on the climate where you live, you may be able to garden year-round. Working in a garden, (and doing yard work in general) is a great way to burn off calories.
- Dancing - Talk to your teen about music and ask them to share some of it with you. Start a dance party in your home! Sure, your child may think you're a super dork but odds are that your inhibition will motive them to get moving and dancing as well.
However you do it, it's important to get them moving. If they are open to going to the gym with you or doing exercise tapes with you at home, encourage it! Our teens may not always appreciate our concern and efforts but they do, on some level, know that we have their best interests at stake.
If your teen or pre-teen is overweight or obese, talk to them about the risks of obesity including diabetes. Don't make the discussion about looks, (unless they want to talk about it), but focus on the negative effects of being overweight on their health. You'll be surprised… they may just be ready to listen (for once)!