Diabetes affects nearly 7 percent of people in the United States, and 90 to 95 percent of diabetics have type 2 diabetes. This form of the disease used to be called “adult-onset diabetes” since it generally appeared in older adults, 80 percent of whom were overweight. With the rates of childhood obesity on the rise, however, more and more children and adolescents are now receiving this diagnosis. Treatment typically includes one or all of the following: Exercise; Strict, permanent diet changes; Medication. Since untreated diabetes can be deadly, exercise and proper dietary choices are essential according to naturopathic doctors, holistic practitioners and other natural health experts.
Natural Health Strategies to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes in Children
Type 2 diabetes is a serious illness that causes many health issues for children and adults including unhealthy weight gain. A study of 10- to 21-year-old patients published in the March 2008 issue of Diabetes Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association, found that 31.3 percent who had type 2 diabetes had been breast-fed compared to 63.5 percent of non-diabetic patients. Researchers concluded that the reason for the reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes in the breast-fed group was a reduction in the risk of childhood obesity. Breast fed babies tend to feel full sooner than those drinking from a bottle. Overfeeding among bottle-fed children has been shown to increase the amount of insulin in the baby’s blood, which can often lead to weight gain.
The researchers also suspect that the chemicals found in plastic bottles and the nitrates in tap water can impair the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is the hormone that doesn’t work as it should in people who have diabetes. Insulin is critical to helping bring glucose, our body’s main fuel source, into the cells. When insulin doesn’t do its job, our bodies are like cars with a fuel line blockage. The car is full of gasoline but the gas doesn’t make it to the engine, and the car does not run.
Holistic Nutrition and All Natural Weight Loss
We can help prevent diabetes and obesity by teaching our kids good eating habits, such as consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and staying away from processed junk food and fast food. We can encourage them to exercise more and spend less time sitting in front of a TV or computer.
In addition, there’s a lot of evidence that we can help our children get off to a healthy start through breast-feeding them in infancy. More than two decades of research have shown many natural health benefits. Lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies and, now, type 2 diabetes are found in children raised with awareness of and exposure to healthy lifestyle practices. Plus, nursing allows for bonding between mother and child, and also can help new mothers lose extra pregnancy weight by using up extra calories. For mothers who are able to breast-feed, this natural process is just one more step we can take to help our children and the health of our nation.
Resources: For more information about the study and diabetes: Diabetes Care. March, 2008;31:470-475, the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, WebMD.com, FDA.gov
Article Credits: Ideacopy
Author Credits: Dr. Kristina Taylor Lewis, ND
Image Credits: Pexels