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Now that I have diabetes, will my children get it too?

You may have heard diabetes is genetic but genes are not the only risk factor for diabetes.

Lifestyle factors including obesity and physical inactivity leads to Type 2 diabetes.  These risks coupled with a genetic predisposition can cause Type 2 diabetes. 

Children as young as 4 years of age are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  If a child is obese and physically inactive, he or she may in fact be heading for diabetes.  Talk with your doctor or diabetes educator about a plan that is a healthy lifestyle for your entire family.  The best successes for weight loss and diabetes control occurs when an entire family begins eating healthy, focusing on weight loss, and exercising.

A recent study examined prevention of diabetes among those with Pre-Diabetes or glucose intolerance (those with elevated blood sugar but blood sugar is not high enough to meet the diabetes diagnosis criteria).  The study found risk for diabetes was reduced by 58% by those who did the following:

  • exercised 30 minutes daily, 5 days per week
  • lost of 5-7% total body weight if overweight (an example of this might be a 200 lb male losing 5% of his body weight = 10 pound weight loss)
  • followed a healthy meal plan.

There are many ways to decrease risk even if you are genetically predisposed for diabetes.  If your child is overweight or inactive, contact their doctor.  Ask about how to help your child reach a healthy body weight.  Reduce risk of diabetes for your entire family.

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