A new study just confirmed that the number of teens with diabetes today has increased almost 300%. Shocking, right? Of course, but equally as shocking is that not enough people in power are really doing anything about this. So here’s an idea for all the politicians out there vying for our election votes this fall: Instead of spending so much of your ill-informed time on women’s reproductive rights, how about focusing on something that really demands everyone’s attention–our kid’s health.
Published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers looked at data from 3,383 youths ages 12 to 19 who participated and found that the number of those with diabetes or “prediabetes” increased from 9% in 1999 to a whopping 23% in 2008. That’s just huge. And scary. And the kick in the pants we all need to do something about the health of our kids–quick.
Adding to this alarm (and guilt) is the fact that Type 2 diabetes is a condition that until recently doctors rarely saw in kids. Meaning, we (all of us) are killing our kids. Just like how we’re making them fat–and diabetes is often directly related to obesity.
But here’s the thing: diabetes and obesity are highly preventable. With rare exceptions, there is no reason that a child should have to endure either one. Diabetes can cause blindness, nerve damage, heart attacks and strokes. And we all know the implications of obesity–stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and diabetes. It’s a vicious cycle.
David S. Ludwig, a childhood obesity expert at Children’s Hospital in Boston, agrees and told NPR that this rate of diabetes can have lifelong effects on health:
That’s a shockingly high figure that has dire implications to the health of this entire generation of children. This report really sounds the alarm.
He went on to say that diabetes is troubling for anyone, but for a young adult, it’s even worse:
It’s one thing for an overweight or obese 55-year-old gaining an extra few pounds a year to develop diabetes at age 65 and then have a heart attack. It’s a very different thing if the clock starts ticking at age 10. Children have so many more years to suffer from the consequences from these serious medical problems related to obesity.
So who is really doing anything to solve this problem? Sure, Michelle Obama‘s Let’s Get Moving campaign is awesome and definitely a good start. But where is her husband in all of this? And where do other candidates stand when it comes to our kid’s health?
I would personally like to challenge each and every politician out there to take this on in a BIG way. Forget about things like trying to get all up in women’s reproductive business. Instead, focus on something that really matters: the health of our children. Beyond blaming parents, schools and convenience stores, how are we going to solve this very major problem, politicians?
Whoever can come up with a sound plan first, gets my vote in November.