The Relationship between Obesity and Childhood Diabetes essay

In general obesity means having an excess amount of body fat. However, there is no difference between obesity in children and in adults since body mass index (BMI) is used in both. For instance, some would refer to diabetes as having at least 20% more weight than the healthy range in terms of weight. In addition, is has been defined that an obese boy would have more than 25% of his required weight and in girls its 32% higher than the required weight. Diabetes is common in today’s world, mostly in children. Children tend to get affected with type 1 diabetes; this occurs when the T cells fight and destroy the beta cells in the pancreas, in turn, the pancreas produces little insulin. Without enough insulin in the body, sugar is not metabolized well, hence, meaning that there is not sufficient energy in the body and the toxic acids build up to dangerous levels. This article will discuss the following issues: the relationship between childhood diabetes and obesity, what role does education play, support after diagnosis, the emotional and social effects, lifestyle modifications, the proper diet and finally, co-morbidities.

Education for Patient and Parents

Doctors today have come to a conclusion that there is, in fact, a link between obesity and childhood diabetes. People who are obese are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes or the one known as insulin resistant diabetes, especially if a close family member is affected (Gattullo and Edelman, 2009). In the recent past education has helped those kids with obesity or diabetes or both. Educating patients on the appropriate lifestyle and nutrition is important; since children would learn important things like that diabetes and obesity can be controlled through a healthy weight, better nutrition, regular checkups and not forgetting physical activities. This education also gives vital information like the proper medication to be taken. Education will help these children understand what diabetes is and what obesity means. Patients should understand that the exact cause of diabetes is not known, but if a family has a diabetic history then one is bound to have diabetes. There is type 1 and type 2 diabetes and type 1 mostly occurs in children and adults under the age of 30, while type 2 develops in adults in their 40s or later. Therefore, such an education is important in identifying the link between obesity and childhood diabetes. In the past few years, children with obesity have developed type 2 diabetes, which was common in adults.

Education is not just limited to what diabetes is about but also how one will know that they have this disease. Education will help a child identify the symptoms, also called the diabetes alert. Such symptoms include urinalysis where urine appears to have sugar. Then there is the fasting plasma glucose test that measures the levels of sugar in the blood, but one has to keep the fast or stop eating. The random plasma glucose test is another test to determine the levels of sugar in blood without necessarily keeping the fast (Gattullo and Edelman, 2009). The last test is  the oral glucose tolerance test; one is required to keep the fast for a minimum of eight hours then take a sugary drink.

Education will give information on how treatment is to be done and where to get this treatment. Information about diet and lifestyle can help in keeping the sugar levels as normal as possible. However, complications may occur. Hypoglycemia can occur to those under medication. Feeling nervous, shaky, dizzy, sleepy and weak, sweating, suffering from confusion, speech problem and frequent hunger are just some of the signs one should look out for when having diabetes. According to Gattullo et al. (2009), this education provides sufficient information on how to control such a disease. The heath care provider can help in planning low sugar and low fat diets for people who suffer from diabetes and obese people respectively. Alcohol should be kept at a minimum. Smoking damages the heart and kidneys. Hence, it is important to stop smoking. Finally, doing exercises on a constant basis would help in keeping blood sugars normal and in reducing body fat.

Consequently, education on how to prevent additional health complications is vital. From a general point of view poorly managed diabetes can cause damage to heart, kidney, nerves and eyes. Erectile dysfunction is just another health problem in men (Chait, 2012). To avoid such extreme cases it is important that the patient takes the medicine as prescribed, has a full eye exam each year, takes good care of teeth, skin, feet etc. Keeping a keen eye on weight, blood pressure, blood cholesterol level and getting support are some of the preventive measures to be taken.

Parents play the main support and management role to their children.  Better parenting leads to a healthy kid. As much as education is important for patients, it is also vital for parents. Better management and preventive skills provided by parents are helpful to their kids (Chait, 2012). Parents are taught how to prevent obesity and diabetes; they are provided with the information about diet, proper medication, lifestyle and exercise patterns. In conclusion, parents directly influence the life of their offspring. Parents would limit television viewing, encourage active participation in sports and physical activities, provide restrictions on fast food visits, provide a well-balanced food, and limit the presence of high fat and sugar snacks in the house.

Support after Diagnosis

For individuals to overcome diabetes and obesity after taking medications, there are different ways to be used. One way is keeping to a diet that has low calories. This will particularly assist people with obesity in reducing their weight. This is determined by the amount of calories consumed. The patient and the health care provided may discuss the amount of calories needed by body daily to reduce weight. The patients have to eat large portions of low calories food (Kumar & Barnett, 2009). This assists in reducing hanger pangs, which affect the diabetes patients. Adopting a good health plan is another way to be implemented after diagnosis. The patients have to keep to healthy diets, eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grain carbohydrates. The diabetes and obesity patients by doing so can improve their health plan and overcome the problems they have. According to ScholarlyEditions (2011), replacing meals is a good idea; it can help obesity patients reduce weight. On the other hand, changing meals often assist diabetes individuals in staying healthy for a long time. Replacing low calories shakes with healthy snacks with low fats and calories may be very helpful.

In treating obesity, taking exercises and increasing physical activities may assist a patient. Many individuals who maintain their weight do this by exercising regularly. Talking long walks may assist in good and non-tiresome exercises.  The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that individuals suffering from obesity spend 150 minutes weekly for physical activities. This assists them in preventing additional weight gain. It is also recommended that in achieving a significant weight loss, one has to exercise for almost 200-300 minutes weekly (Kumar & Barnett, 2009). To have an improving body requires a lot of exercises from a patient. A patient is supposed to break up the exercising sessions more often so that he or she may experience a good weight loss required. Even though steady exercises are the most effective methods used in burning calories and in reducing off excessive weights. Any extra movements assist in reducing and burning calories. Behavioral medicine program assists the patient in changing lifestyles by weight loss. Steps needed in examining the current habits that have led to obesity may be implemented for diabetic and obese patients (Kumar & Barnett, 2009). The support to be provided may be behavior therapy. Counseling provided by the health care practitioners assists the patients in addressing the behavioral and emotional issues that are related to eating. Therapy assists the patients in understanding the reasons of being healthy and coping up with anxieties, depression and stress. It assists the patients in learning how to monitor the activities to be carried, and which diet to be used. The patients need to understand the eating triggers and how one needs to cope up with food cravings. This counseling may be done via internet programs or telephone in case the patient cannot reach the healthcare counselor. On the other hand, the patient may find a lot of support from different support groups whereby different people share experiences in the problems they face, either diabetes or obesity. As stated in Scholarly Editions (2011), in certain situations, losing weight and enhancing good healthy living in these patients may need prescription medicines from health care providers. Weight loss medicines are meant to be used with regular exercises, good diet and behavior changes. If the changes are not made in the life of a patient, the medicine prescribed may not work at all. The health care provider may recommend these medicines in case other weight loss and good health methods have not worked.

Emotional and Social Effects

There are many social and emotional effects that are experienced by a child suffering from obesity or diabetes or both. Obese adults and children are targets of systematic and early discrimination. The emotional and social fallout can hurt both adults and children that suffer from obesity and diabetes. Every child is expected to create a concept of their selves and identify themselves. A child is expected to monitor, by identifying oneself, how other people such as peers and friends respond to the ideas or actions he/she conducts. On the other hand, children are supposed to monitor the value judgment accompanied by their peers and friends` perceptions. These actions take place in environments that have societal attitudes, cultural attitudes, social values and conformities. An obese child develops a sense of knowing how to handle his or her body and deal with the trepidations of their body status in contrast to these backdrops (Blogspot, 2013).

Many children know from an early age  that obesity and diabetes are not desirable. The awareness issued seems to be mainly generalized from different studies that use stereotypes that have the same negative responses despite the age, body status of a person and gender. As a result, a child termed to be overweight is alleged as a fair game. A lot of obese children have low self-esteem. This is because many children every so often bully or tease their obese peers (Blogspot, 2013). Low self-esteem makes children feel depressed. Many children become conscious of their body status via such mechanisms like name calling and photographs. In the early years, children realize that fatness impacts athletic ability and appearance, but not the global self-worth or social competence. Even though, obesity differs in many children. Low self-esteem may affect the body of a child at a greater extent. This leads to the fact that child`s self-protection, enhancement and efficacy are affected (Guthrie & Bartsocas, 2003).

Another effect of obesity is causing a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness among obese children due to low self-esteem and social isolation. This leads to depression. When a child is depressed, he or she may lose interest in day-to-day activities by either crying or sleeping more (Blogspot, 2013). This psychological stress may affect the social functioning and academic performance of a child then persisting into adulthood. Other children, who suffer from depressions, hide their sadness and look emotionally flat. Moreover, obesity may lead to a child being very nervous and acquire poor social skills than children who have normal weight. These issues may lead to a class disruption in school. It may also lead to social abandonment. Anxieties and depression have major effects on learning and creates vicious cycles whereby the worries of an obese child may lead to poor academic performances (Guthrie & Bartsocas, 2003). Learning of a child may also be interfered. Additionally, many children having diabetes have a lot of feelings developed in their life stages. They may feel different from their friends who do not have the illness. This may be worse in case the glucose level of a child is found to be worse or  the disease progresses. Being separated from parents, when attending school, makes obese children have safety related fears. This leads to these children singling out themselves in school as misfits. On the other hand, diabetes in children may lead to rivalries among the siblings and jealousy. This is because parents tend to care more for the child having diabetes that the others. Diabetes is one of the conditions that frustrate children, therefore, leading to aggressive reactions to high and low blood sugars (Guthrie & Bartsocas, 2003).

Lifestyle Modification

In plenty of forums, numerous people talk about diabetes and obesity lifestyle modifications (Wadden et.al, 2012). What does this really mean?  Does is it actually make any difference? However, it is easier to make modifications to lifestyle than taking actual medication. Health institutions have always recommended weight loss for those who are overweight. A program of lifestyle change is considered the first and important option for achieving weight loss. In some cases, it is referred to as behavioral weight control and constitutes of three primary constituents: diet, behavior therapy and exercise. Fortunately, lifestyle modification for t diabetic people is more or less same as that one for obese people; diet and quitting smoking are just some ideologies of a lifestyle change.

A complete lifestyle modification program encompasses a weekly group or individual session that is designed to modify activity and eating habits (Wadden et al., 2012). The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) is an example of a treatment program that allocated participants with low glucose tolerance to metformin, placebo or lifestyle modification class.