Children’s Day: How good nutrition can help prevent type 2 diabetes, improve your child’s overall health  |  Photo Credit: Getty Images
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus or T2DM can develop at any age, although it used to mostly affect adults
- Good nutrition has a direct impact on your child’s overall health and well-being
- On Children’s Day 2019, let us focus on the importance of diet management in children
New Delhi: There’s no denying the fact that good nutrition has a direct impact on your child’s overall health and well-being. It can help improve their overall health and reduce the risk of diseases, including Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes mellitus or T2DM can develop at any age, although it used to mostly affect adults. Indians possess a strong genetic predisposition to diabetes mellitus. It is clinically proven that we are susceptible to a high rate of glucose intolerance. However, developing healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent this chronic health condition to a large extent. On Children’s Day 2019, let us focus on the importance of diet management in children.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is actually becoming more common in children as rates of childhood obesity continue to climb. To reduce the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus especially in children, dietary management is of absolute importance. Good nutrition alongside physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
What parents can do to improve their child’s health
Inculcating habits in children on healthy eating and keeping them informed of the ill effects of junk and fried food are the roles to be taken up by parents at home – and teachers at school. It is also important to reduce screen time to one-two hours a day and ensure outdoor and physical activities as part of the daily routine. At sporting clubs, it is a must to avoid canteen food after playing, instead, prepare homemade food to satisfy the hunger in kids. Wholesome home foods like vegetable cutlets that are not deep-fried, with less salt and oil in air fryers are a better option, said Dr Anil Bhoraskar, senior diabetologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim – A Fortis Associate – and Scientific Secretary, Diabetic Association of India.
Let’s take a look at the types of food that can be hugely beneficial for children as well as those that are harmful to their health:
Foods to avoid
- Hamburgers, chips, farsan or salty snacks, pakodas and all varieties of deep-fried food
- Red meat, beef and pork
- All trans-fats, including margarine and hydrogenated fats
- Bakery products which contain unhealthy fats should also be avoided
- Sugar-sweetened carbonated drinks
- Street food comprising deep-fried snacks in reused oil
- Energy-dense milkshakes
Foods to consider
The following should be a part of the child’s diet:
- Flaxseeds, fenugreek and mustard seeds
- Fatty fish like mackerel, sardines and tuna
- Pulses like urad, rajma, chawli or lobia, and soyabean
- Green leafy vegetables like methi
- Drinks like kokum sherbet, coconut water, lime water and chaas
Reducing the volume of refined carbohydrates in the diet will help high-risk groups to substantially lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is the major problem in our community and can be reversed by substituting and reducing the quantity of vegetable seed oil by traditional fats such as ghee.
Foods to be taken liberally
- High-fibre containing fruits and vegetables particularly pulpy fruits like oranges, sweet limes, apples, pears, etc. and sprouted grains like matki, masoor, moong, etc.
- Fleshy dark fish. Those who do not eat fish could consume EPA + DHA capsules and 6 tsp of flaxseeds per day.
- Low GI index carbohydrates, high in fibre and low refined like sugar and jaggery
The bottom line is, as parents and caregivers, you’re responsible for establishing an environment that helps children develop and maintain healthy eating and lifestyle patterns that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.