Children and Diabetes

According to the National Institute of Health, the rates of obesity in children over the age of 6 years old have more than tripled since 2008.  Childhood obesity is a national epidemic and has a direct correlation with Type 2 diabetes. Long term complications of obesity and diabetes include but are not limited to: heart and kidney disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and blindness.

Due to the many health complications of diabetes and obesity, medications are often prescribed.  In addition to the financial burden of paying for medications, there are also side effects to the medication which can cause additional health problems.  This financial strain coupled with ill health severely diminishes the quality of life for those suffering from diabetes and obesity.

The United States has the largest population of obese and diabetic people in the entire world.  Coincidentally, the United States also has the highest number of fast food restaurants.  The current generation of children in the United States is living a more sedentary lifestyle compared to previous generations.  They are also suffering from improper nutrition due to fast food that is loaded with ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup.  Even school lunches, baby food, and processed foods like cereals and snacks are loaded with added sugars and preservatives.

Sugar is a sweet substance which naturally occurs in food.  The issue is with the added sugar in processed foods.  This added sugar is the main contributor of obesity and diabetes.  Unused sugar turns into fat.  So it is easy to understand that when we consume excess sugar and it has nowhere to go, the sugar converts to fatty tissue which causes weight gain.  I challenge you to become a ‘food detective’ and start reading ingredient labels.  Look for ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, aspartame, and sucralose.  This is not a complete list of added sugar and artificial sweeteners but it is a start.

The good news is that diabetes and obesity are preventable!  People living with diabetes can benefit immensely from following a low sugar, whole food (beans, grains, fruit, and vegetable) diet.  Be proactive and focus on the foods that are diabetic friendly.  Learn how to cook and shop for low sugar meals without using artificial sweeteners.  Start an exercise program which will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.  Join a support group and seek lifestyle counseling.  Educating yourself and your family about proper nutrition will save your lives.

Nicole La Placa is a Certified Health Coach and lives in Highlands County.  Send letters to or visit


American Diabetes Association

National Institute of Health


Dr. Olga Garcia Luepschen and the Gentle Foot Care Center are located 2 Ryant Blvd (on US27) can be reached 314-9255(walk).  Check us out at


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