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.