Type 2 Diabetes and Childhood Obesity

This paper elaborates in detail the significance of health promotion and maintenance of desirable health by embracing healthy lifestyles so as to avert the occurrence of both childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. In the past, reported diabetes cases among children were that of immune mediated type 1a. However, with increasing cases of childhood obesity there has been a dramatic increase in Type 2diabeties among the children. Obesity is associated with resistances to insulin; Type 2 diabetes is developed when the condition is coupled with insulin deficiencies in the body. Children who develop this type of diabetes have higher chances of experiencing micro vascular as well as macro vascular complications of the ailment during young ages compared to individuals who become affected by the condition in adulthood (Wilmot & Idris, 2014).

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These complications include atherosclerotic cardiovascular illnesses, myocardial infarction, stroke, renal inefficiency and failures, retinopathy that can lead to blindness, neuropathy and even sudden death in chronic cases. Since both cases, Type two diabetes and childhood obesity have raised a lot of concern in the recent past, healthcare professionals are advised to take more measures in reducing the impacts of the diseases. This can be done by researching on the root cause of both diseases and mitigating further incidences.

Importance of health promotion

Increasing rates of both childhood obesity and Type Diabetes among children have detrimental effects and substantial long term repercussions to the affected persons, the society and the public health system at large. It is therefore necessary that all health care providers reduce the effects at the early age, prevent and control further occurrences. Since Type 2 diabetes can be avoided by practicing good health measures, healthy habits and lifestyles have to be instilled in populations at high risk of developing the conditions (Segel, 2011). In the event that measures meant for stopping the rise of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes are ignored, more harm will be seen in both the children and the society. Early onset of Type 2 Diabetes automatically leads to early development of chronic complications like renal failures, neuropathy or even blindness due to retinopathy, which affects the physical wellness of the children. Tagging to that, the economic, psychological and social impacts of these conditions are too significant.

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Patient population

For the past thirty years, the number of children diagnosed with obesity has kept on increasing at a very high rate. It is documented that 22.6% of children between the age of 2 to 5, and 31% between the ages of 6 to 19 years have higher risks of being overweight in United States of America. The other fact is that the condition disproportionately affects children who descend from minority groups. The occurrence of obesity among non-Hispanic white children was 8.6%, 8.8% for non-Hispanic black children, and 13.1% for the case of Mexican American children. The children suffering from obesity have higher chances of becoming obese adults as well if the recommended health measures are not taken seriously. They are also likely to develop serious medical, psychological, and social problems all through their life span (Koukourikos et al, 2013). The growing prevalence of childhood obesity corresponds to the rise of Type of diabetes among the children. In the pediatric population, Type 2 diabetes accounts for a significant fraction of number of newly diagnosed diabetes. The figure rises to a high of 50% incidences in some clinics. Children at puberty stage have higher chances of developing Type diabetes even though they are not obese. This is because of the fact that puberty is closely related to the enhanced secretion of growth hormones by the body, a factor that promotes the body’s ability to develop insulin resistance. Therefore, when this factor is coupled with genetic and environmental factors, the individual has higher chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Proposed solution

Health care professionals and care givers including parents and guardians should assume the active role of identifying cases of obesity, reduced glucose tolerance and diabetes in children. This can be done through various ways. The first one is through identification of environmental and genetic risk factors like gestational diabetes, maternal obesity and lack of physical activities by the populations at risks at an early age. This will help in reducing the impacts caused by the risk factors and avert the development of chronic conditions. Counseling programs should also be provided in all learning institutions that promote the importance of weight loss through modifications of lifestyles (Hurtado-lopez & Marcias-Rosales, 2013). The other solution is screening of persons at risks of getting Type 2 Diabetes, this is because the disease is asymptomatic and signs might show up at later stages upon development of chronic complications. It is, therefore, essential to monitor the risk factors and use screening methods to identify the presence of the condition among the population at risk.

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The American Diabetes Association (ADA) endorses screening for diabetes among children who have a BMI of 85th percentile for age and gender, alongside two risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes. Screening is more important because it helps in early detection of the disease and early treatment and management provided to those affected (Ortega-Cortes, 2013). It is evident that diabetes related complications begin even before the onset of its signs and symptoms. Aggressive treatment on the other hand slows the occurrence of complications, therefore early identification and treatment of children with Type 2 Diabetes presents the promise of prevention of occurrences of serious complications.

Goals

One of the goals is to reduce the occurrences of childhood obesity among the populations. This will not only promote better and healthy lifestyles but also reduce the occurrences and spread of Type 2 diabetes. All government entities and communities should ensure that children are encouraged to choose healthy lifestyle choices. Teachers should take the roles of eliminating junk foodstuffs like candy and sodas in school cafeterias and mandate regular physical activities. Governments should ensure that policies are formulated that protect the right of children to access good healthy foods whether in their homes or school environment, should also ensure that all schools provide the recommended environments for children to play and exercise (Farsani et al, 2013). This goal will be measured using the BMI method, the BMI should be plotted annually on the BMI growth charts. This can be done by the providers of healthcare in all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), and determine if the level of childhood obesity is increasing or decreasing.

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The other goal is ensuring that Type 2 diabetes in children is prevented by all means. The disease can be prevented or delayed from occurring for many years. With thorough investigation, identification, treatment and management of the condition, it can be prevented from occurring at an early age. It is paramount to note that even small changes can make big differences in a person’s body, which can lead to prevention of the disease. This includes daily eating of healthy foods, having enough physical exercises, and being active on a daily basis. Parents and guardians should also be aware of Type 2 diabetes warning signs since the condition is asymptomatic. The warning signs include having blurred visions, abnormal fatigue, increased thirst, and frequent nighttime urination. Upon identification of the signs, the parents and guardians are supposed to take their children for Type 2 diabetes screening (Karnik & Kanekar, 2015). So as to ensure that this goal is achieved, all relevant institutions, including government and learning institutions are expected to come up with effective policies that promote healthy living conditions and lifestyles. These policies have to be followed to the latter end, and form of punishments enforced to those who violate the provided laws. Health audits can be conducted in the relevant institutions so as to ascertain that the measures are adhered to, and any corrective measures undertaken in case of incompliances.

Barriers

The first barrier to effective prevention of childhood diabetes and Type 2 diabetes is financial challenges. All the programs that lead to interventions of the diseases based both in schools and community levels need subsequent monitoring of improvement and sustainability for longer periods of time. Therefore with insufficient funds, the program facilitators may end up using ineffective methods or discontinue the programs, which will end up negating the whole process. School based intervention programs need more funds since it involves training of teachers, provision of enough facilities and promotion of policies that encourage healthy lifestyles. It is also the most essential and preferred intervention mechanism since children longer in schools than they stay in their homes or community (Segel, 2011).

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Communities on the other hand will find it difficult to provide safe neighborhood for the children to play and exercise with insufficient funds. In order to avert this barrier, all the relevant institutions should practice transparency when explaining the impacts of the disease in society. This will help in raising funds especially form the private sector and other non-governmental organizations to help in mitigating the impacts. The federal and state governments on the other hand should allocate funds that can help in preventing occurrences in populations at high risks of getting both conditions.

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The other barrier is that stigmatizing obese children has become a common occurrence. Obese children are often face discrimination because of their body appearance, this reduces their chances of coming out for healthy programs and any other essential assistances.  This mostly happens in learning institutions and community settings, where interventions are mostly conducted. This act of stigmatization, especially by their peers, is seen as mental barrier and leads to undesirable body image and the avoidance of certain foods. This makes the condition worse because it can lead to other detrimental effects like malnutrition (Ortega-Cortes, 2013). This can be eliminated by implementing policies that support healthy living while at the same time discouraging any forms of discriminations of all persons. These policies should be supported by all levels of government, starting from national, regional to local.

Benefits

The reduction of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes has more benefits to the patient population, the key ones being that it reduces the psychological and social health issues that can affect the well-being of the children throughout their lifespan. Obese children have negative body image which ends up lowering their self-esteem in the long run. This may also affect their academic and social lives which are more essential in a child’s growth (Koukourikos et al, 2013). With early detection and treatment, the children are able to live normal lives and achieve their desired potentials in future. With regard to the nursing profession; health promotion activities reduce the chances of disease occurrences hence increasing the rate of healthy populations. This promotes the roles of nurses in the society, which is creating and maintaining healthy environments. Reduced disease occurrence and spread will consequently lead to reduced roles and responsibilities on the part of health care providers and care givers.

Participants and Interdisciplinary Approach

For successful implementation of this plan, many stakeholders have to be involved. This is because the determinants of childhood obesity are varied and no single intervention is likely to eliminate it. With respect to that, varied stakeholders have to be incorporated in the plan as well. Sustained interventions have to be undertaken at different levels, individual levels especially in schools and communities with the aim of effecting changes in behaviors. The other important sectors are the agricultural departments, food manufacturing companies, learning institutions, transportation and urban planning departments (Segel, 2011). The other important people are the public health officers who can assist in diseases surveillances and epidemiology. Medical officers are needed to provide treatment and management of the diseases among the populations already affected by the chronic complications of both childhood obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

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The education sector will assist in incorporating healthy living programs in schools calendars.  Urban planning departments will take the important role of ensuring that children have the right environments for playing and physical exercise activities (Karnik & Kanekar, 2015). Agricultural and food manufacturing companies will ensure healthy and nutritious foods are marketed and sold to the public. Parents and guardians have to take the role of instilling good healthy practices among the children while in home, while teachers are mandated to provide the same roles while the children are in schools. The federal and state governments are mandated to protect the rights of children to access good health services and live healthy lives.

Conclusion

Obesity among children has become a public health concern not only in the United States of America but the entire world. This is because it has led to the development of conditions that were prevalent in adults to the children population. This includes the sudden increase of Type 2 Diabetes among the children, which is strongly associated with childhood obesity. It is important to note that continuous increase in childhood obesity will lead to corresponding increase in Type 2 Diabetes (Segel, 2011). This will have negative impacts not only to the affected individuals but also the entire society. It will negatively impact the economy of the affected states and nations because more time and available resources will be used in solving challenges that are caused by the diseases. Therefore sustainable interventions have to effected by all the stakeholders so as to ensure that all children live healthy and have brighter future.

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