Diabetes Incidence On The Rise: How Diet Has An Effect

Ginger Vieira Health Guide June 28, 2007
  • "Estimates of the incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) show an increase in incidence worldwide during the past two decades... as the prevalence of obesity has increased in recent decades, some studies have reported an increasing proportion of youth with type 2 DM, especially among racial/ethnic minority populations." -ScienceDaily

    To be honest, I’m surprised that anyone is surprised. News articles a plenty are talking about the notable increase in diabetes mellitus across the country — both type 1 and 2… but mostly type 2. Unfortunately, the article from Jama Media admits the data in the study did not differ between the two types, and a few areas of the article talk about diabetes mellitus in general, instead of specifically discussing type 1 and type 2 separately. We should all know by now that while these diseases share a similar title, they are vastly different.

     

    The major problem here is type 1 dominating a population of more than 16 million in the United States alone… and there are so many yet to be diagnosed. The study found that about 33.9 percent of children between the ages of 10-14 had diabetes mellitus (they fail to specify which type, but it can probably be presumed the majority are type 2).

     

    Meanwhile, with type 1, the incidence of the disease in the youth has climbed to 15,000 -- but again, the article continues to discuss the increase of the disease as if both diseases are the same and caused by the same things. I don’t think anyone should wonder why type 2 is becoming severely prevalent in children — you can take one look at so many of the parents in this country and label them as potential type 2 candidates as well.

     

    With the way pizza and Poptarts have become considered regular choices for dinners and breakfasts, it’s no wonder our society has been packing on the pounds relentlessly. If the parents aren’t practicing healthy choices and regular exercise, why is it any surprise that their children aren’t either?

     

    If I didn’t grow up in a family of athletic brothers, with a mother who knows the ins and outs of nutrition, and with a father who goes for regular 90-mile bike rides, I probably wouldn’t have it ingrained in my head that exercise is extremely important and French fries aren’t vegetables.

     

    The solution is not just about pounding the idea of jogging and broccoli into young minds, though. We need to help children learn that the consequences are real and they happen to people just like you.

     

    For starters, how about making exercise more fun — not work? When I go for a run it’s because I love the challenge of seeing if I can make it this far, or this fast. It’s the competition with myself -- the challenge of seeing how I can become healthier or stronger. That makes it fun for me.

     

    And of course, telling a child they can only eat vegetables and fruits and lean meats isn’t going to fly very far. The idea here (and it’s not a new one) is moderation, right? Dessert comes after dinner. Not after breakfast (or for breakfast, as Poptarts would make you believe). Not during lunch. And maybe that after-school snack could be more like a smaller nutritious lunch than a snack.


  • In other words, to many of us, the word “snack” translates as chips and cookies… if we call it something else, perhaps we could turn it into a bowl of whole-grain cheerios or an apple with peanut butter.

     

    Anyways, I’m not a scientist. I don’t know what makes ou bodies develop autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes where our pancreases entirely give up and quit. But I don’t think there’s a whole lot of mystery behind type 2. And I think one of the first steps to treating it and preventing it, is by suggesting your son or daughter turn off the TV and go for a walk…andyou might as well join them, because adults need exercise, too.