Obesity and Diabetes Threaten Children of Color
"A 12-year-old with Type 2 diabetes may develop coronary artery disease by age 35," said Vivian, associate clinical professor in the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy. "We're talking about a generation of children that might not outlive their parents."
Vivian says that some heavily Hispanic zip codes in Los Angeles have rates of childhood obesity approaching 90 percent. And her recent research in Madison, Wis., shows that things aren't much better in the Midwest.
- About 31 percent of the children consume fast food more than twice a week
- 86 percent watch more than two hours of television
- Among the obese and overweight children, television watching was more than three hours a day
- The parents themselves reported being too busy with work to prepare home-cooked meals
Vivian's research is aimed at identifying factors that people can change to lose weight and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Her work is funded by the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), part of a national effort to get medical research more quickly from the laboratories into the community.
She has just received a second grant to create a community-based intervention program that will go into the neighborhood centers with programs for children and parents. While the children would be in exercise classes led by trained instructors from the UW School of Kinesiology and formerly overweight teenagers who have successfully changed their own lifestyles, parents would be learning about healthy shopping, cooking and family lifestyle changes.
"One problem is that some parents also eat unhealthy foods, and the children follow their parents," Vivian said. "The good news is that when you ask adults to change their lifestyle, they're more likely to be receptive if it involves helping their children."
Is Your Child At Risk For Diabetes?
- Is your child African-American/black, Latino/Hispanic, Native American or Asian/Pacific Islander?
- Does your child have a sister or brother with diabetes?
- Does your child have a parent or grandparent with diabetes?
- Has a health care provider told you your child is overweight or do you feel your child is overweight?
- Does your child (between ages 10 and 19) get little or no exercise?
- Does your child have a dark skin patch around the neck or in the armpits?
- Has a doctor said your child has high blood pressure?
- Has a doctor said your child has high cholesterol?
- Has your daughter had irregular periods, excess facial hair or unusual weight gain?
If you answered yes to two or more questions, your child may be at risk for having or developing diabetes. You should talk to a health care provider.
Date Published: 07/20/2009