Kids are having diabetes in alarming rate nowadays
diabetes used to be the disease of the older generation. Nowadays doctors warn
that more children and young adults between the ages of 12 and 25 are being
diagnosed with the disease in Nigeria.
predict that if the present trend continues, the population of young adults and
children diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes may be higher than that of older people
afflicted with the disease.
have identified obesity, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits as some
of the factors responsible for the rising incidence of Type 2 diabetes
affliction among Nigerian children.
Speaking on this development, a consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist, Dr.
Abiola Oduwole, says the rate of at which adolescents are being diagnosed
with the disease, which usually occurs in adults above 50 years, gives
medical experts cause for concern.
to him, a person is said to have diabetes when there is a high concentration of
glucose, a converted form of sugar, in his blood due to inability of the
pancreas to produce enough ( (Type2 ) or when there is no insulin (
Type1) to convert glucose to the nutrients that the body cells can
says, “In the past, we used to see Type 1 diabetes in children, which is
genetic. Now we are seeing more Type 2, which usually occurs only in adults, in
children as young as 10 years or 12 years. If we are not careful we will be
have an epidemic of childhood diabetes soon.”
endocrinologist notes that if tertiary hospitals are attending to three or four
of children with Type 2 diabetes now, then the number of undiagnosed cases of
the disease in a country like Nigeria, which lacks structure for detecting
diseases early, could be alarming.
blames the disappearing culture of eating home cooked meals and the love for
junk food among children for this looming disaster.
specialist says that children living in cities where junk food is the norm are
particularly at risk.
says that diabetes in the young became a cause for worry after studies
conducted by her department in some schools in the Surulere area of Lagos
revealed that 16 per cent of the children were overweight and at a pre-diabetic
stage and 13 per cent were entering hypertensive stages, while the others had
abnormal glucose level.
had abnormal blood glucose levels, which is a predisposing factor to developing
Type2. We have many teenagers who are presently unhealthy due to the poor
lifestyle they are living, ”she explains.
quickly adds that children could, however not be blamed for this trend,
rather government, parents and schools should wake up to their responsibility
to saving the younger population.
to Oduwole, a further probe into the families of obese kids and children
diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes revealed that their parents belonged to the high
or middle class.
says that this is a clear indication that parents were not giving their kids
the right foods.
no longer insist that children must eat before they go to school. They will
rather give them money to buy whatever the feel like eating, which is naturally
sugary food and fatty foods at that age because they are busy. So the kids get
fatter and they become overweight. It is simple logic. Home cooked meals are
fast disappearing on our tables. Almost every street in Lagos has a fast foods
restaurant where parents and their kids have their daily meals.” Oduwole adds.
notes that most schools and residential areas in the urban areas lack
recreational facilities where children could play and burn off excess calories,
hence they accumulate in their bodies causing great harm to their health.
now so bad that most schools, especially those in the urban areas, do not have
a tangible playground. So they convert it to another class. The streets in the
cities are not safe. Technology has taken the attention of parents and
children. Some parents would prefer their kids to stay indoors and play video
games or watch television rather than play outside the house.”
specialist, Prof. Anthonia Ogbera, says that since children
have come to matter in the present diabetes epidemic, parents and
government must take their roles seriously and join hands to curb the ugly
identifies ignorance, poor awareness and misinterpretation of symptoms as the
factors responsible for the late detection of diabetes.
says, “Mothers must be vigilant. Type 2 diabetes may not present obvious
symptoms. If a child bedwets constantly, wakes up several times in the
night to use the toilet or if he or she is always hungry despite eating large
quantities of food, you must screen that child for diabetes.”
recommends that schools should include blood glucose screening in their health
programmes for pupils to detect those with diabetes early.