Lifestyle changes can help kids prevent diabetes

Published On: Dec 06 2012 09:37:54 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 17 2012 03:09:01 PM CST

By Jeffrey Bramnick, Pure Matters

Type 2 diabetes, once the sole province of overweight adults, now affects kids who have poor eating habits and get little exercise.

Why is it so important to watch kids' weight? "Because 77 percent of overweight kids become overweight adults," says Janet H. Silverstein, M.D., a pediatric endocrinology expert in Gainesville, Fla.

"If one parent has type 2 diabetes, there's a 40 percent chance a child will develop type 2 diabetes," she adds. "When both parents have it, the chances increase to 80 percent."

But those kids are not guaranteed to become diabetics, she says. Parents can do a lot to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in their kids -- even if the parents already have it. Dr. Silverstein and the American Diabetes Association offer these tips: