I really wish this was a headline from The Onion, but alas, it’s not. There was a time not that long ago that diabetes in children meant one thing, and that was autoimmune driven Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult onset diabetes.” It’s now “for everyone.” The news article details how a three year old toddler pulled down the DM2 (diabetes mellitus 2) diagnosis…there are several sections worth noting:
“Doctors reviewed the child’s diet and found the family had poor nutritional habits with uncontrolled calories and fat. Both her weight and body mass index (BMI) were in the top 5 percent of all children her age.”
Although it’s a nice story to tell that carbs and carbs alone are the cause of DM2, it’s not really accurate. Too many calories, which can come from fat OR carbs are clearly the factor here…but it’s worth noting in the above paragraph…the medical staff identified too many calories were being consumed (all fine there) but ONLY mention fat as a problem. I PROMISE you this kid was not overeating butter, bacon, nuts, and eggs. I will bet the farm, to the degree fat IS a factor here, it’s being carried down the pie-hole on the backbone on refined carbs. The hyper-palatable combination of fat and carbs is tough to turn down and is clearly irresistible to kids. This is also interesting:
“Reversal of type 2 diabetes in children is possible by early screening of obese children, early diagnosis, appropriate therapy and lifestyle modification,” Yafi said.
Yes, we can intervene in type 2 diabetes, yes good lifestyle and diet changes can turn this around, but damage has already been done at this point, particularly in a toddler. What epigenetic changes have occurred that will predispose this little girl (and the growing number of kids like her) to everything from neurodegeneration to various forms of cancer? We don’t know and we will not know until the costs, both in human and economic terms, have literally crushed us.
The only thing that may perk up the ears of researchers and the medical community may be some kind of class-action process, not dissimilar to what we saw happen with tobacco. It’s time to get this story and what we do about it right, our kids deserve better than this.