The Richmond Department of Public Health is concerned about increasing numbers of overweight and obese children that are diabetic or at-risk. Childhood obesity can lead to development of a host of serious medical problems, including type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension and respiratory problems.
What is Type II diabetes?
Normally, food that we eat is turned into glucose or sugar that our bodies use for energy. Insulin is a substance made by the body to help cells absorb the glucose and convert it to energy. If a person has diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin or it can't use its insulin as well as it should. This causes too much sugar to build up in the blood, which is known as Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. Research shows that many obese children and adolescents have impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that often appears before the development of type II diabetes.
Unhealthy Lifestyle causes obesity and chronic disease
More and more Americans are suffering from preventable diseases resulting from what has been labeled a "Lifestyle Disease" that's epidemic for both adults and children. An alarming fact is that children are exhibiting health problems normally associated with middle age. The accelerated onset of Type 2 diabetes is the result of modern-day lifestyle habits that include consuming too many high-fat calories and not getting enough exercise.
The Health Department wants Richmond parents to be aware of the urgent need to reverse this trend and to take action to protect the health and wellbeing of our children. Good nutrition and physical activity are important to the development of young minds and bodies. Give your child a chance at a healthy life.
We encourage partnership and collaboration in the home, schools and the community. Work with educators to make sure that your child's education includes health conscious activities. Parents can make a difference by being more mindful of helping children eat properly and exercise. Provide opportunities individually or in groups for children to engage in regular physical activities. Curb sedentary habits such as watching too much television and playing video games.
For more information on childhood obesity, contact the Richmond Health Department at 646-5601 or our Rock! Richmond fitness program at 205-3734.