BALTIMORE — MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, along with Sugar Free Kids Maryland, is proud to participate in American Diabetes Month to promote diabetes prevention and control and promote healthy living.
Diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but now, nearly a third of American teenagers are diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic. Unless some changes are made, one in three U.S. children will develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives.
The rate is even higher among African American and Latino youth— one in two of African American and Latino youth can expect to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes (CDC, 2011).
Because of this, this generation may be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents. The main driver behind this epidemic are sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugary drinks like sodas, sports drinks, and sweetened juices and teas contribute more calories and added sugars to the American diet than any other food or beverage (IOM, 2012).
We can use this month to raise awareness about diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make healthy changes. Here are just a few ideas:
·Encourage people to make small changes, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
·Talk to people in your community about getting regular checkups. They can get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked and ask the doctor about their diabetes risk.
·Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.
·Avoid concentrated sweets and sugary beverages such as regular soda, juice and sport drinks.
“It is important for growing kids to get enough calories and nutrients for normal growth and development, while preventing the excessive weight that can set the stage for type 2 diabetes and other health problems and it is important for adults to make healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise as well,” said Dr. Tyler Cymet, president of MedChi.