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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.

5 Tips for Managing Diabetes During the Holiday

Family enjoying Thanksgiving dinnerUse these tips as a road map for managing your diabetes while making the most of the holiday season.

‘Tis the season for family, festivity, and food—lots of food. Temptations are all around, and parties and travel can disrupt daily routines. That means it’s also the season when eating healthy, staying active, and taking medication on schedule is harder to do. Here are 5 tips to help you ring in the new year feeling good while staying on track.

1. Stick to Your Plan

Managing your diabetes during the holidays should be the same as managing it every day, with a few exceptions. You won’t always be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re bound to see other people indulging. Prepare for the extra challenges and you’ll handle them well:

  • Eat, be physically active, and take your medication close to the usual times.
  • Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along.
  • If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbohydrates (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
  • Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to keep your blood sugar in control, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat.
  • If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.

2. Stay in Control

When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, you’ll find healthy choices easier to make if you:

  • Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
  • Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
  • Slow down and savor. It takes time for your brain to realize you’re full.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.

Also plan to stay in control of your blood sugar. Check it more often during the holidays and adjust your medication if needed.

3. Fit in Favorites

You can have some of your favorite foods as long as you limit how big the portion is and how often you have it. Choose foods you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pecan pie. Indulge in a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.

Family walking in parkGetting active is a good move for the whole family.

4. Stay Active

It’s easy to put physical activity last on the list during the holiday rush, but being active is always time well spent. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday dinner. Being active can help make up for eating more than usual, and it reduces stress during one of the most stressful times of the year.

5. Get Enough Sleep

If you go out more often and stay out later during the holidays, you’re likely to get less sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar. And when you’re sleep deprived, you’ll tend to eat more, and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.

Most of all, remember what the season is about—celebrating and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on the fun, you won’t focus as much on the food.

Protect Yourself from Influenza (The Flu)

Information for People with Diabetes (either type 1 OR type 2) and Their Caregivers

If you have diabetes, you are three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu and its complications than other people. The flu may also interfere with your blood glucose levels.

  • But there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
  • Get a flu shot! It’s the single best way to protect yourself against the flu.
  • Take prescription flu medicine when your health care provider prescribes it.
  • Follow special sick day rules for people with diabetes.
  • Take everyday steps to protect your health.

People with diabetes should talk with their health care provider now to discuss preventing and treating the flu. People infected with the flu can pass it on to others a day or two before any symptoms appear. That’s why it is important to make sure the people around you get a flu shot as well.

A flu shot is the single best way to protect yourself against the flu.

The vaccine is safe and effective. It has been given safely to hundreds of millions of people. You should get the flu shot vaccine and not the nasal spray type of vaccine.

a patient geting a flu shotEveryone ages 6 months and older should get the flu shot unless told otherwise by a health care provider, especially people with diabetes. The flu shot is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The vaccine used in the shot is made from killed virus. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. A few people may be sore or notice some redness or swelling where the shot was given or have a mild fever. For more information about possible reactions, go to

Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for people with diabetes. One possible complication of flu can be pneumonia. A pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine should also be part of a diabetes management plan. Talk to your health care provider for more information on getting both vaccines.

Take prescription flu medicine (antiviral medication) when your health care provider prescribes it.

a physician writing a prescriptionIf you get sick, prescription medicine can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They do more than just relieve the symptoms. They can help prevent serious health problems that can result from flu illness. They work best when started within 2 days of getting sick, so talk with your doctor now about what to do if you start to feel sick, and call your doctor as soon as you get flu symptoms.

Sick Day Guidelines for People with Diabetes

If you have diabetes, even if your blood sugars are in good control, and are sick with flu-like illness, you should follow these additional steps.image of someone in bed sick

  • Be sure to continue taking your diabetes pills or insulin. Don’t stop taking them even if you can’t eat. Your health care provider may even advise you to take more insulin during sickness.
  • Test your blood glucose every four hours, and keep track of the results.
  • Drink extra (calorie-free) liquids, and try to eat as you normally would. If you can’t, try to have soft foods and liquids containing the equivalent amount of carbohydrates that you usually consume.
  • Weigh yourself every day. Losing weight without trying is a sign of high blood glucose.
  • Check your temperature every morning and evening. A fever may be a sign of infection.

Call your health care provider or go to an emergency room if any of the following happen to you:

  • You feel too sick to eat normally and are unable to keep down food for more than 6 hours.
  • You’re having severe diarrhea.
  • You lose 5 pounds or more.
  • Your temperature is over 101 degrees F.
  • Your blood glucose is lower than 60 mg/dL or remains over 250 mg/dL on 2 checks.
  • You have moderate or large amounts of ketones in your urine.
  • You’re having trouble breathing.
  • You feel sleepy or can’t think clearly.

Take everyday steps to protect your health

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Have enough medications and supplies to last for a week in case you have to stay at home.

Symptoms of Flu

Talk with your doctor now about how to reach him or her quickly by telephone if you think you have the flu. Symptoms of influenza can include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

People may be infected with the flu and have some symptoms without a fever.

How does diabetes affect how I respond to a cold or flu?

  • Being sick can cause changes in your blood sugars. Also, illness can prevent you from eating properly, which further affects blood glucose.
  • In addition, sometimes diabetes can make it more difficult for you to handle an infection like the flu. People with diabetes who come down with the flu may become very sick and may even have to go to a hospital. You can help keep yourself from getting the flu by getting a flu shot every year. Everyone with diabetes (type 1 OR type 2)—even pregnant women—should get a yearly flu shot. The best time to get one is now. The flu season often doesn’t peak until February or even later. It takes several weeks for the shot offers its best protection, so don’t delay . . . get your flu shot now!


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.