Nutrition and Obesity (Diabesity)

Currently, 1 in 3 children are considered obese/overweight. The Department of Public Health predicts that by the year 2020, 1 in 2 children will be considered obese/overweight. Diabetes, and especially Type 2 Diabetes is directly associated with being overweight.

As a parent, we want productive, active, and healthy children.

Obesity is dangerous for your child. If your child is overweight or obese, please read the information provided below.

Contact Glendale Healthy Kids and let us help you control this nationwide epidemic.

Diabetes and ‘Diabesity’

Food TodayThere are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, and numbers of cases of both types are rising worldwide in adults. Recently type 2 diabetes has been reported to be also increasing in children. What is behind this worrying phenomenon and what can be done about it?

In people with untreated diabetes, the level of glucose in the blood (blood sugar) can be two or three times higher than normal. In type 1 diabetes this happens because there is a lack of insulin, which is the hormone produced by the pancreas to channel glucose into the muscles and other tissues. In type 2 diabetes insulin is usually produced in copious amounts, but the muscles that would normally respond by taking up the glucose to use as energy or to store it, become insulin resistant and the glucose levels in the blood increase.

Type 1 diabetes or Insulin-dependent diabetes

Type 1 diabetes typically appears in children and is caused when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by an autoimmune response. Why this happens is still not well understood, but those with a genetic susceptibility are most at risk and there have been suggestions that viral infections may trigger the process. This type of diabetes is treated with regular insulin injections and is also known as ‘insulin dependent diabetes’.

Type 2 diabetes

Previously referred to as ‘non-insulin dependent diabetes’, type 2 diabetes was only found in middle-aged and elderly people. Recently, however, it has escalated in all age groups and is now being diagnosed in younger and younger people including predominantly obese and severely obese adolescents and children (1). This is true both for developed as well as developing countries. This increased incidence is of concern, because children should not have it and it might be avoided by preventative measures (2).

Insulin resistance

When muscles become insensitive or resistant to insulin, they cannot readily take up glucose circulating in the blood. The pancreas responds by producing more and more insulin to compensate. When the pancreas can no longer cope with the constant increased demand for insulin, glucose levels in the blood rise and diabetes can develop. So what causes insulin resistance in the first place?


It has long been known that overweight and obesity are predictors of type 2 diabetes, and obesity is indeed an insulin resistant state. Particular people with central obesity, where fat collects around the waist, are most likely to become insulin resistant. It is no coincidence that cases of type 2 diabetes have escalated in line with the global rise in the scale of overweight and obesity so that type 2 diabetes is being nicknamed ‘diabesity’.

Healthy lifestyle

Vital measures for both the prevention and cure of ‘diabesity’ are: weight reduction and taking regular exercise (2). Even moderate weight loss is linked to a marked reduction in insulin resistance and improves how the body deals with glucose and the overall metabolism. Taking some physical activity also provides dual benefits – not only does it play a key role in weight control, exercise also works to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose handling in its own right, particularly in the muscles.

Let’s get maternal

There is also convincing evidence that maternal diabetes, including gestational diabetes, which develops in the mother during pregnancy, increases the likelihood of the child developing type 2 diabetes later in life. As obesity is one important modifiable risk factors for gestational diabetes, prevention of obesity in women of child-bearing age is an important preventative measure (1).

Prevention the priority

Diabetes is a debilitating disease, which leaves sufferers at greater risk of heart disease, circulatory problems, and hypertension. The increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes or ‘diabesity’ among children is of particular concern. Prevention, through healthy eating and lifestyle (2,3), must take the highest priority and should focus on decreasing:

  • the risk, incidence and consequences of type 2 diabetes in adults at risk;
  • overweight and obesity among children and young people.


The Growing Challenge of “Diabesity”

Dr. Francine Kaufman

“I’ve devoted my life and career to diabetes in children,” says Dr. Francine Kaufman, right, at a clinic in India.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Francine Kaufman

There is an obesity epidemic in the United States and parts of the world — especially among children. Now, we are learning about obesity’s intimate relationship with diabetes.

By Mary Best

When Francine Kaufman, M.D., talks about diabetes and obesity, it’s easy to hear her passionate commitment to educate parents and children about this growing problem. “I am concerned about our children,” says Dr. Kaufman, who is the incoming chairperson for the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). “I’ve devoted my career to diabetes in children. Particularly now, when we are at the point of an epidemic of childhood obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes in children, I have realized that to make a difference, we have to change the environment for children.”

She has seen firsthand the effect of a poor diet on the body. Dr. Kaufman treats thousands of children who suffer from obesity and the diseases associated with it. She is a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Dr. Kaufman is also director of the Center for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

To Find Out More

At, type “diabetes” into the Search box. There is also more information at
The Cover of Fall 2006 Medlineplus Magazine For more information on teens and diabetes, visit to read about juvenile diabetes as featured in the Fall 2006 issue of MedlinePlus magazine.

Nearly 21 million Americans suffered from diabetes in 2005, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A national survey calculated the obesity rate for children at 17.1 percent in that same year. Dr. Kaufman predicts that by the year 2020 the number of people around the world with diabetes will soar to more than 300 million.

In her book Diabesity: The Obesity-Diabetes Epidemic That Threatens America—And What We Must Do to Stop It, Dr. Kaufman explains the roots of diabesity quite simply: “Our ancient genes and our modern environment have collided.” Our bodies store excess calories as fat. In ancient times calories were hard to come by. Today, fast food and junk food are everywhere. Coupled with our increasingly inactive lifestyle, the result is obesity.

“Diabetes is everywhere around the world,” says Dr. Kaufman, “and it touches people, whether they are the person with diabetes or the person caring for someone with diabetes. It has a global reach and a global impact. We need to come together as a global society to find a way to combat diabetes.”

Conquering Diabesity – Natural Solutions For Diabetes And The Obesity Epidemic

 A new term has been coined to demonstrate the parallel line between diabetes and obesity. Diabesity is the realization that diabetes and obesity go together like peanut butter and jelly, like spaghetti and meatballs, or like Doritos and chili cheese dogs.

The real underlying issue is that obesity and being dangerously overweight has become a societal norm. You will be shocked and a little disturbed when you find out what the statistics are today. But, more so, you’re going to be driven like never before to not have your name listed in the ranks of people who are stricken with diabesity.

This condition has become a societal norm because, as Dr. Francine Kaufman says, “Our ancient genes and our modern environment have collided.” You can not go more than a couple miles in this country and not see a chain of fast food restaurants, we are bombarded by chemicals in our food, water, and air supply, and we are more overworked and under-rested than at any other point in human history. What we are seeing now is a result of our collective decisions, but this can all change starting now.