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Plate of raw vegetables with blood glucose meter and lancet close up

Prediabetes in Children

By Dr. Drusilla Powell, Chesapeake Pediatrics

Nearly one in five adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 are living with prediabetes, a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes.

If your child has prediabetes, it means that their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not at the level where they would be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

According to federal health authorities, adolescents who have prediabetes have significantly higher cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure. They also have more abdominal fat and a lower sensitivity to insulin.

Fortunately, parents can help their children avoid developing Type 2 diabetes by changing their eating habits and helping them become more physically active. Children should be physically active for at least an hour every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They should also limit their total screen time to no more than two hours per day.

What your child eats makes a big difference, too. Try these tips from the CDC to help encourage your child to reach for healthy foods and snacks.

  • Regularly offer your child fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products.
  • When selecting milk or dairy items, such as cheese and yogurt, look for low-fat or non-fat products.
  • Serve lean meats, chicken, fish, lentils, and beans for protein dishes.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day. Limit how often they are allowed to have sugary drinks.
  • Check ingredient labels to avoid foods with excess amounts of sugar and saturated fat.

Always consult your child’s pediatrician if you have concerns about their nutrition or health.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.