By Dorothy Mitchell (LaVonne) on August 20, 2011

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. "You might ask WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH DIABETES?" read on



In children and adolescents diabetes and heart disease are occurring at an alarming rate.  The main cause of this trend is obesity.  Nearly a third of all American children are overweight, or at risk of becoming overweight.2 Obesity in boys and girls ages 5-17 has doubled in the last 20 years; obesity in African-American girls has tripled.1 The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children should be below the 95th percentile for Body Mass Index (BMI) for their sex, weight and height.


Once the families farmed the land and lived off the land and had plenty of exercise but as the years went by the land began to suffer, it was sold and in many instances the families moved to the cities to find work for everyone. The families who were already in towns and cities found themselves having to work 2 jobs. Divorce was on the rise and single parent families were “born.” Children were left to their own devices. Fast foods became the child’s meal and TV, video and computer games became childcare providers. Children sat glued to these devices (and many still do). No more do the children play in the park with their peers, tossing balls, playing basketball and other such recreation.

Parents and the medical community have overlooked what has been happening to the children; schools, stopped having physical education as part of their curriculums. 

Today our children are in serious trouble.


Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (released Jan. 26, 2011)

Total prevalence of diabetes

Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.

Diagnosed: 18.8 million people

Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people

Pre-diabetes: 79 million people*

New Cases: 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

Healthcare providers are finding more and more children with type 2 diabetes.  A disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older.

 * In contrast to the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, which used fasting glucose data to estimate undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes, the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet uses both fasting glucose and A1C levels to derive estimates for undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes. These tests were chosen because they are most frequently used in clinical practice.

Under 20 years of age

  • 215,000, or 0.26% of all people in this age group have diabetes
  • About 1 in every 400 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes


Parents and members of the medical community need to accept for responsibility of our children.  We as parents need to be mindful of the negative aspects of diabetes, we need to learn all we can and help our child combat the disease. The medical community needs to be aware of the child’s physical condition. (It’s not baby fat).  If we do nothing to put a stop to this disease now, diabetes will advance to the number 1 killer, surpassing heart disease in the next 10 – 20 years, if not sooner. (LaVonne)

Symptoms of Diabetes in Children

There are a variety of symptoms parents can look for if they suspect their child might succumb to diabetes. Those symptoms include frequent urination, weight loss, tiredness, thirst, headaches, stomach-aches and even behavioral problems. If these problems persist, this can signify the onset of a diabetic condition.

A family medical practitioner can usually run the required tests to confirm whether a child is suffering from diabetes, but most often treatment takes place with a specialist whose area of expertise is treating children with diabetes.

After the Diagnosis

When a child is diagnosed with diabetes, this doesn’t mean that a healthy, fun-filled childhood is abruptly altered. The child will certainly need to make some changes; however, if parents respond with encouragement and a calm demeanor, children will learn to effectively manage the disease as they grow older. While at first the task appears daunting, this is not as hard as it seems. We “parents are not alone in the matter.” There is a fast support system to help us provide what our children need to be healthy.

How can you, as the parent do for your child/ran?  You are your child’s role model; he/she copies what you do.  If you smoke the likely hood is 80% that your child will also smoke, if you drink, your son or daughter will think it is ok if they do it too; prepare healthy meals and snacks, limit fried foods and sweets, provide more fruits and vegetables, serve milk at meals; limit sodas. If you drink five 20 oz. sodas in one week, you consume about one cup of sugar, which is equal to about 800 calories that has no nutritional value; restrict the length of time your children sit in front of the TV and play video and computer games, get active yourself, take them for walks every day and build up the tolerance to 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back home, enroll them in programs that build their self esteem and a build a healthy body.

Be aware that there are psychosocial risks for overweight childhood and adolescent. Obese children and adolescents are targets of early and systematic social discrimination.2 The psychological stress of social stigmatization can cause low self-esteem which, in turn, can hinder academic and social functioning, and persist into adulthood.3  

As a parent you can break this cycle, you must break this cycle.  Contact the American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/ , ask your Dr. to direct you to a diabetic nutritional nurse in your community.


Related articles:
children, diabetes, heart attack

About Dorothy Mitchell
I was a nurse for 12 years and then about 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2. Since then I have learned more about my disease and its complications. I have also learned to manage my blood sugar with diet and oral medication.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
informative and accurate article Lance Aug 20, 2011 6:46 AM 0

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According to the CDC Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents; about 151,000 people below the age of 20 years have diabetes. When diabetes strikes during childhood, it is routinely assumed to be type 1, or juvenile-onset diabetes. However, in the last 2 decades, type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among U.S. children and adolescents with increasing frequency.