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ALL parents want the very best for their children, regardless of the parenting approach that they choose to go by. Some might believe in positive reinforcement by rewarding a desired action with a ‘treat’, but most times these treats come in the form of sugary food and drinks.
The next time you are about to prize your children with candies, soda or fast food, stop and think of the repercussions first. You might gain brownie points from your children — perhaps even gaining the brand new title of Cool Mom or Hip Dad — but ask yourself, “Do I really want to put my beloved kids at risk of diabetes?”
You may get called overdramatic or overprotective but just turn a deaf ear because you are doing the right thing as parents. Medical professionals worldwide have reported that children are indeed susceptible to diabetes just as much as adults are, especially if they are overweight.
In conjunction with Word Diabetic Day this week, let us refresh our memory on what diabetes is and how it affects the body. As previously stressed, knowledge is important to help us safeguard our family’s health and wellbeing.
What is diabetes?
According to a local non-profit group ‘MoPo Tsyo’, diabetes is one of the biggest and growing silent killers in Cambodia which kills people when they are still in the prime of their productive life. It added that the disease could drain households of its assets and financial resources. This might force parents to make their children drop out of school and even sell family lands — leaving the family in a continuous and vicious cycle of poverty.
Diabetes essentially happen when your body stops producing insulin. This is dangerous because insulin is very much needed to help with the process of breaking down nutrients and glucose (sugar) from food and turning it into a source of energy.
In a healthy body, insulin is produced by the pancreas. However, there are two main instances where insulin simply cannot be produced, otherwise known as Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. In both cases, glucose level in your blood will get really high, thus triggering other health complications involving your heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and gums and teeth.
How do the types of diabetes differ?
Diabetes Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes, takes place when your pancreas has lost the ability to make insulin for good. According to ‘Kids Health’, in this case, the body’s immune system would attack and destroy the cells that produce insulin for no specific reasons. A slew of studies suggested the problem could be due to genetics, making it more common in children than adults.
Meanwhile, Diabetes Type 2 occurs when your body is resistant towards the insulin produced by your pancreas. The body then functions on low level of energy which simultaneously brings your blood sugar level through the roof. This situation will force the pancreas to work harder just to produce an adequate amount of insulin.
Is my child at risk for diabetes?
If your child checks one or more of these boxes, it is best to consult a medical professional for a blood sugar test just to eliminate all worries:
Not physically active
Has at least one diabetic parent
Loves sugary food and beverages
Constantly need to urinate
How can I help my child?
We need to recognise that diabetes is a chronic condition which demands extreme attention. Like the saying goes, better safe than sorry. Try to create a healthy living ambience to avoid falling into the trap of diabetes. Here are some ways you can help both your child and yourself:
Promote the love for healthy eating by getting creative with the meals
Constantly monitor and help them maintain a normal body weight
Do not use sweet treats to ‘buy’ their affection
Promote insulin absorption by working out together
Keep your blood sugar from going too high or too low
If your kid is diabetic, work closely with the care team.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from diabetes complications including stroke – while you can – by inquiring about AIA សម្រាប់ជីវិត (Samrab Chivit). It is a life insurance solution which covers 26 conditions of critical illnesses and medical operations both in Cambodia and overseas. For further enquiries, contact AIA Client Care service at 086 999 242.
Sources: WebMD, Medical News Today, Kids Health, World Health Organisation, Medline Plus, Healthline, Khmer Times, AIA Malaysia.