New data shows that the incidence and acuity of type 2 diabetes in children increased significantly during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with more pediatric patients hospitalized from March to December 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. Findings from the retrospective chart review were presented as a late-breaking poster session at the virtual 81st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association® (ADA).
Stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including limiting physical activity, increasing screen time, and sedentary behaviors, disturbing sleep, and increasing the intake of processed foods, which can all lead to weight gain. In fact, more than one in four Americans with diabetes report the pandemic disrupted their ability to obtain healthy food—a concerning trend as modest weight gain over a short period of time can increase the risk for long-term consequences such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The following steps can help reduce your kids’ risk for developing type 2 diabetes and other health problems it can cause:
- Eat a healthy balanced diet: Because kids are still growing, the focus is on slowing down weight gain instead of losing weight
- Eat lower-calorie, lower-fat foods
- Decrease portion sizes, and don’t ask kids to finish everything on their plate
- Substitute fruit or vegetable for a carbohydrate-rich food
- Replace high-calorie beverages, such as soft drinks or fruit juices, with water
- Eat at home more frequently instead of eating at restaurants
- Have kids help make meals
- Eat at the dinner table instead of in front of the TV
- Physical activity: Physical activity lowers blood sugar. Encourage your child to get regular aerobic physical activity for at least an hour a day and, better yet, exercise with your child. Activity time doesn’t have to be all at once — you can break it down into smaller chunks of time.
For more information or for other helpful tips, visit our free resource section on the LYLWL’s Website.