“Issues like diabetes do, as you well know, have a knock-on effect to diabetes. So we all are better off if we invest in prevention.”
I hate diabetes. It
can rob people of their sight, their limbs, their kidney function, their lives. It causes people to go on kidney dialysis. It
puts people at 2-4 times higher risk for having a heart attack or stroke than
someone without diabetes. It is preventable and can be reversed.
Kids who are overweight and obese are at higher risk for
developing diabetes than kids who are at healthy weights. Diabetes matters to
the health of America’s children which is why pediatricians, school
administrators, community leaders, and parents should be taking actions to prevent it.
Childhood obesity is the elephant in the room. We ignore obesity, turn a blind eye, and
pretend it is not there. But obesity is
a major risk factor for children being diagnosed with diabetes.
All children deserve access to healthy foods to help them
maintain healthy weights. Are they eating animal products every day or are
their families moving towards more plant-based eating and less consumption of
meat, chicken, and dairy? Are they eating highly processed foods every
day? Are they consuming foods and drinks
with added sugars every day?
Of course, there are other variables beside what kids eat,
in the equation of when childhood obesity leads to a diabetes diagnosis, such
- How much screen time do kids have?
- Are they getting physical activity every day?
- What are the stressors to their physical and mental health
and are they being addressed?
- Are they getting enough sleep?
Moving to plant-based eating is one of the most important
things we can do to prevent and reverse diabetes and to solve the
childhood obesity epidemic. Please pass the lentils!
With love and kindness,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder and Wellness Architect