AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - About one in every four young people in the US are living with pre-diabetes.
Risk factors such as a poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep, and poor stress management are all contributing factors to the increase.
The CDC says pre-diabetes can significantly increase the risk of being diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes, and local pediatricians say this study holds for children and young adults in the Panhandle as well.
“Diabetes is a case where your body can’t properly use sugar more or less, so pre-diabetes is a state where your body can kind of use it, but not really well," said Mariada George, M.D., FAAD.
Local pediatricians also mention this is not a new problem among children and young adults.
“It’s been a problem for a while honestly," said Dr. George. “Kids are getting more and more sedentary, and all of the fast-food people eat plus being busy, they don’t have time to eat correctly.”
Preventing pre-diabetes from turning into Type 2 Diabetes is possible, but it starts with making good choices.
Dr. George says it’s okay to have an unhealthy snack every once in a while, but not every day.
Nutritionists also mention a gradual change in the diet is more effective.
“It’s difficult to change a child’s nutrition and diet, but it's definitely an important thing to do,” said J.J. Rinne, Owner of Innovative Nutrition. “You have to start out by realizing that a lot of foods are emotionally attached, and they get this sensation of sweet, almost like a reward, so suddenly taking all of those foods away can be an emotional trauma to them.”
Rinne advises parents to incorporate other foods such as fruit and protein bars that still have a sweet sensation in children’s diets.
Dr. George also wants to encourage parents not to enforce unhealthy weight loss in children.
“With children, the important thing is we don’t necessarily want them to lose weight because they’re growing," said Dr. George. “We don’t want to limit their new trends, so we want them to stick at a weight and then grow into it.”