Kids, slash your risk for diabetes by 64 percent

September 3, 2018

“It goes without saying,” wrote columnist Erma Bombeck, “that you should never have more children than you have car windows.” While she was thinking about keeping the tykes entertained (in a pre-digital world) and preventing squabbling in the back seat, she could have been talking about the windows of opportunity that parents have to make sure their kids grow into healthy adults who do not develop Type 2 diabetes.

Writing in the journal Population Health Management, the Institute for Alternative Futures estimates that the prevalence of diabetes will increase by 54 percent, to more than 54.9 million Americans between 2015 and 2030; and total annual medical and societal costs related to diabetes will increase 53 percent to more than $622 billion by 2030.

But, according to research published in Diabetes Care, you can help redefine that future. If your kids are able to avoid becoming obese (currently about 17 percent of kids 2 to 19 are obese/12.7 million) or can reverse their obesity by age 25, they slash their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when they hit middle age by an astounding 64 percent.

The tools to achieve this are in everyone’s grasp: regular physical activity (at least 30 effort-filled minutes a day); seven to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily and only 100 percent whole grains; and dodging red and processed meats. That can transform today and tomorrow for individuals — and help ease the tremendous financial burden of diabetes and its complications that harm families and society.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.