Diabetes becoming more commonly diagnosed in preschool age child - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Diabetes becoming more commonly diagnosed in preschool age children

Alison Lunsford, Pediatric Endocrinologist Alison Lunsford, Pediatric Endocrinologist

Amarillo, TX - Type 2 diabetes is becoming more commonly diagnosed in preschool age children.  

About 19% of children in Texas are obese and 17% are overweight and diabetes is one of the major health concerns associated with those overweight. While nearly 30 million adults and children in the united states have diabetes it affects 11% of Texans. 

Pediatric Endocrinologist, Alison Lunsford, said the disease is prevalent in our area. 

Adults and school age children often have the disease but Lunsford said even younger kids are being diagnosed more frequently. Lunsford said a normal weight for a child entering kindergarten is about 40 pounds; however, she said she has seen children weigh close to 80 pounds.

She said once children gain weight it is hard for them to loose it. "Once you've gain fat cells it's very hard to loose them, the memory of the fat cells is to stay there," Lunsford said. "Two, three, and four year old children becoming obese sets them up for a real failure later in life."

Doctors believe children can develop type 2 diabetes more easily than adults because it is hard to monitor what children are eating when they are at school or when they visit friends. Children and teenagers who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than those without and believes parents should watch and plan their child's diet. Doctors encourages those with Type 2 diabetes in their families to visit their physicians frequently and make healthy choices earlier in life.

Lunsford says the best ways to prevent diabetes is to eat healthy foods, drink less sugary drinks, and exercise. She says even thirty minutes of walking a day can be helpful. 

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