Cases of diabetes among children are increasingly becoming common worldwide.Kenya is no exception.
Diabetes in Kenya
A recent survey released by Kenyatta University shows that children are increasingly becoming exposed to lifestyle illnesses like diabetes.
This trend is informed by the sedentary lives of most children due to factors like lack of play facilities at home and in schools,homework given to children throughout the week,children spending a lot of time in school or tuition.This means that children have no time to engage in physical exercises.
Those living in Nairobi are affected the most,since parents are forced to leave their homes very early to avoid being caught in traffic.In the evening,some of the parents who in order to earn extra income have enrolled in parallel classes.This in turn means that they have no option but report to their houses very late.In order to compensate for their absence,such parents have been forced to stock their refrigerators with junk food like sausages,bacon,sodas,chocolates and the rest.Families have also been found to invest in indoor entertainment facilities for their children.These include:play stations,DSTv,and the like.
Other parents have been found to take their children out every weekend to eateries that specialize in junk food.This in my view is done to compensate for their absence,while at the same time ease their level of guilt for having neglected their families.
Resultant effect:Exposure to diabetes
While the above treats make children feel loved by their parents,it is also worth noting that the same children will blame their parents later should they develop preventable lifestyle illnesses like diabetes.
There is an increase in the reported cases of diabetes amongst children.The contributing factors are explained in my previous article.
Children exposed to diabetes are subjected to a lifestyle of injecting themselves with insulin from an early age.This being as a result of their parents having failed to guide them on the path to good health.
Parents therefore need to realize that the future of their children lies in their hands.Besides investing in their children education,parents need to promote the well being of their children in totality.The World Health Organization defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.Parents who suffer from diabetes should also take time to educate their children about this disease,in addition to giving them tips on how they can avoid acquiring diabetes 2,through proper diet and exercises.
Physical Health:How to promote this
In young children,physical health promotion is achieved through activities like play, games, sports, daily chores, recreational activities, or planned exercise, in the context of family, school, and community activities.Children should be all means be encouraged to do various types of physical activities.
Parents can enhance their child’s well being by investing in the following:
- enrolling their children in sports clubs over the holiday
- buying balls and bicycles
- encouraging their children to play outside the house for at least 30 minutes
- taking a stroll with their children
- buying skipping ropes for them
- buying healthy diet.
Each parent is holding the future generation in his or her hands.The future health of this generation will be determined by the decisions made today.Most of the children suffering from juvenile diabetes can attribute this to poor nutritional advice and provision by their parents.
It is up to every parent to make well informed decisions so as to keep diabetes and other lifestyle illnesses away from our children.
Your suggestions are welcome on “how best can parents protect their children from acquiring diabetes”