Heroes Sending a Super Message About Childhood Diabetes
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- More than 25 million children and adults have diabetes in the US, with over a million new cases diagnosed every year. The numbers alone paint a scary picture, but perhaps the only thing scarier than diabetes in adults, is a look at the numbers affecting our children.
Fortunately healthy habits now could prevent serious problems down the road.
And when that learning comes from superheroes, kids will probably pay attention. When it comes to kid's health, these heroes have a super message.
It may look more like a child's birthday party than a visit to a doctors office, but among the hugs and high-fives, there's a lot of learning.
"It was exciting, I've never seen real superheroes before," says 7 year-old Angeliyah Williams.
"Diabetes and its impact is just as potentially devastating as cancer or heart disease," says Dr. Desmond Schatz, the medical director of the Diabetes Center at the University of Florida.
Dr. Schatz says, in recent years, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes increased in children and teens. It's not yet known what's behind an increase in type 1, that's something Schatz is researching. But type 2, sometimes known as adult onset diabetes, is largely linked to the increasing number of obese and overweight children.
"We're seeing from recent data that complications are occurring earlier and that the course of the disease is more rapid the earlier you develop the disease," Schatz says, "this is very scary, because that in fact tells us that this will be a huge burden not only on the individual, but also on society."
It's a trend doctors like Schatz are trying to change by spreading awareness, but awareness will only go so far.
"[We need] changes in schools, school lunches, the non-availability of sugary drinks and snacks, beverages, sodas," he says.
In the meantime, sending the message home with experiences like these certainly won't hurt.
Schatz says one of the best things you can do for your child is to cut sugary drinks and snacks out of their diet.
For more information about diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org/
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