Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States; it affects more than 18 percent of children, making it the most common chronic childhood disease.
Obesity, diabetes in children still rising
By Leslie Sheley
The number of obese children has more than tripled since 1980, according to obesityaction.org.
David Corder, owner of Perfect Fit Wellness Center in Peyton, said that childhood/youth obesity stems, in part, from a lack of movement, proper nutrition and having more tools to create a life where we move less. “We are a culture that likes to do things that are easier,” Corder said. “We are heating and reheating food and going out to eat, we don’t cook at home anymore; and we actually lose weight in the kitchen,” he said.
These modern-day habits are being passed on to the next generation, Corder said. “We are … not encouraging them to move; we give them things to keep them quiet and busy so we adults can do what we need to do,” Corder said.
Instead of giving kids a phone or an iPad to keep them busy, Corder said adults need to encourage movement in their children. “I want more familial participation and families working out together,” he said. There is no charge for anyone under age 16 to attend a workout class at Perfect Fit with a parent. “I just had a family with an 8 and 9 year old come and participate in a yoga class with their mom and dad; and they loved it,” Corder said. “The two biggest points is we need to cook and eat real food and eat with the family, and we need to get away from the TV and video games and move to be healthy. And these take planning, preparation and effort.
Type 1 diabetes
A SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, found that from 2002 to 2012 the rate of newly diagnosed cases of Type 1 diabetes in youth increased by about 1.8 percent each year. During that same period, the rate of newly diagnosed cases of Type 2 diabetes increased even more, at 4.8 percent, according to an article at nih.gov.
Kelli Raleigh, outreach manager for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said the foundation focuses on Type 1 diabetes. In 92 percent of people who have Type 1, the cause is related to an auto-immune response, not genetics, Raleigh said.
She said Type 1 diabetes is becoming an epidemic along with Type 2. “By 2050, one in every 250 kids will have Type 1 diabetes; we aren’t far from that statistic now as it (statistics) is one in 300,” Raleigh said. Reasons for the increase in Type 1 diabetes include diet and the overuse of antibiotics, which is creating more auto immune attacks on people’s bodies, she said.
“Children are going on the average to the doctor four times before getting an accurate Type 1 diagnosis, because the doctors are misdiagnosing them with Type 2. However, in the nation, of all the people who have diabetes, 95 percent have Type 2 and only 5 percent have Type 1,” Raleigh said.
The JDRF is supporting a free screening for Colorado children, age 1 to 17 to detect childhood diabetes as well as celiac disease. Raleigh said they are finding that the two diseases often go hand in hand. Visit https://trialnet.org/ for free screening locations. More information on Type 1 diabetes can be found at http://jdrf.org/rockymountain or visit the Facebook page.
According to The American Diabetes Association, Type 2 diabetes is also on the rise; by the year 2050, one in three people will have diabetes. Children from certain ethnic groups are at higher risk: African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American.
Type 2 diabetes
A Nov. 18 ADA Issues Position Statement on Comprehensive Care of Pediatric Patients with Type 2 diabetes (Evaluation and Management of Youth — Onset type 2 diabetes) stated, “Research has indicated type 2 diabetes appears to be more aggressive in youth than in adults, with a faster rate of deterioration of β-cell function and poorer response to glucose-lowering medications.”
Silva Arslanian, MD, the lead author of the position statement, stated, “Furthermore, there is a higher risk for complications in people with earlier-onset type 2 diabetes, which is possibly related to prolonged lifetime exposure to hyperglycemia and other atherogenic risk factors, including insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and chronic inﬂammation. Thus, we must continue to make strides in recognizing the specific needs of youth and adolescents who are at-risk or diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.” (http://diabetes.org)
In a separate phone interview, Arslanian said some things can be modified and some things can’t. “What can’t be modified are our genes, what we can modify is obesity, which is the loaded gun; obesity is the major risk factor for kids to develop Type 2 diabetes,” Arslanian said.
“If we can get our kids to eat healthier and be more active, we can prevent Type 2 diabetes; in the U.S., normal weight kids do not get Type 2 diabetes,” she said. “I had a patient diagnosed at age 13 with sleep apnea, high cholesterol; he was overweight and had Type 2 diabetes,” Arslanian said. “He lost 30 pounds; and, at age 16, has none of the above.”
The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are sometimes hard to pinpoint as some kids are asymptomatic and display no symptoms at all. Many kids could be diagnosed only when they were screened for a fatty liver or given a glucose intolerance test, Arslanian said. On the other extreme, some kids get extremely sick, their bathroom trips have increased and they start to lose weight.
“One problem with this is, for example, there was a 14-year-old who was overweight and started losing weight and was happy with this; so she didn’t think it was a problem until the pattern became so disruptive,” Arslanian said. “And then she went to the doctor and got diagnosed.”
She said sometimes kids are diagnosed with candida infections because of such high sugars in the body or they have blurry vision from hypoglycemia; it is not always easy to diagnose Type 2 diabetes in kids.
“We are not in epidemic proportions yet, but the projection for 2050 is that 84,000 kids will have Type 2 diabetes,” Arslanian said. “We are having 9-month old babies who are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.”
Type 2 diabetes in youth is worse than adult Type 2 because they don’t respond to the treatments as well and there is only one approved medication for kids, as opposed to several for adults. Arslanian said kids develop complications faster and deteriorate more quickly.
Arslanian’s advice to parents: “Don’t waste money dumping soda down your kids; eliminate chips, nachos, Doritos; and provide fresh veggies. Make them walk up and down the stairs, reduce screen time and be a good role model.
“I know how hard it is; we live in a toxic environment and food is everywhere. When my daughter was in elementary school, parents had to take turns bringing in treats; and my daughter said, ‘Mom please don’t embarrass me by bringing vegetables,’ and I said, ‘I love you and that’s why I do what I do.’”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity impacts the military. The CDC reports that 71 percent of young people in the United States would not be able to join the military if they wanted to because 31 percent are overweight or obese; other factors included educational deficits and criminal or drug abuse records.
In an online video, Ret. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling discussed the problems associated with the diabetes epidemic in youth. “Over the last decade, we have experienced increased difficulty in recruiting soldiers due to the decline in the health of our nation’s youth. In 2009, when I was the commander of Initial Military Training, I found that a little over 75 percent of 17-to-24-year-old civilians who wanted to join the Army were not qualified to do so because they were obese. Of the 25 percent that did qualify to join the Army, 60 percent could not pass the PT test, which consists of one-minute of sit-ups, one minute of push-ups and a one mile run. Unless we see significant change in physical activity and nutrition in America, our national security will be affected.” For more discussion on the topic by Hertling, visit https://youtube.com/watch?v=sWN13pKVp9s
Editor’s note: According to the Associated Press Stylebook (the guide used by most newspapers), Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is capitalized. However, the diabetes associations lower case “type.” Thus, the reason for the two different style usages.
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On Dec. 18, the El Paso County Planning Commission held the second of two public hearings regarding the adoption of a water master plan for the county. Following the hearing, the commission unanimously approved the plan.|
In 2017, the county hired Forsgren Associates Inc., a civil engineering company in Englewood, Colorado, to develop the plan.
At the second hearing, Mark Gebhart, deputy director of the EPC Development Services Department, recapped the process to develop the draft plan, and said it was sent to 110 different interested entities across the county for review, including the city of Fountain and Colorado Springs Utilities. Additionally, the public had a chance to provide feedback through numerous avenues, including a web-based program, he said.
As part of his presentation, Gebhart highlighted vital points from the public’s input. More than 100 of about 160 respondents strongly disagreed with the idea of drilling additional wells to reach quality water sources for future development. About three people agreed with the idea, and about 23 people had no opinion, according to the data.
The commissioners reviewed the draft, and Gebhart answered their questions. After reviewing the document, the planning commission opened the floor for audience members to voice their support or opposition to the plan.
Terry Stokka, Black Forest resident and member of the Friends of the Black Forest Preservation Plan, said he believes water sufficiency should be proven at the sketch plan phase of any development plan. “We have 7,000 homes that say Sterling Ranch Metropolitan District will supply them with water,” he said. “That metropolitan district does not exist; it is only on paper.”
Judy Von Ahelfedt, Black Forest resident and member of the FoBFPP, said, “I continue to advocate that this document is not yet ready for final adoption … I am hoping you will continue to edit and revise this document and maybe table it until after the new (EPC county commissioners) have been seated and there has been a chance for more public input.”
Craig Dossey, executive director of the EPC Planning and Community Development Department, said his goal is to continue to update this and other plans and re-evaluate decisions the county has made. However, until EPC has a water master plan in place, there is nothing to continually modify and update, he said. “We have to have a starting point,” Dossey said.
Cole Emmons, senior assistant county attorney for EPC, recommended that, if the board chose to approve the resolution, they make the water master plan an amendment to the master plan for EPC. He added that the water master plan was advisory in nature only and was not a regulatory document.
The resolution does not require approval by the BOCC. A copy of the plan can be found at https://epcdevplanreview.com.https://epcdevplanreview.com.