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Type 2 diabetes does not just affect adults. Children, especially those who are overweight, are also at risk of developing the chronic disease.

What is the treatment for childhood diabetes?

“Lifestyle changes and self-empowerment are the cornerstone of treatment,” says Assoc Prof Fabian Yap, Head and Senior Consultant, Paediatric Endocrinology Service, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.

For better outcome, both the parents and the child should be fully involved in managing diabetes.

As a parent, here are some of the steps you can take:

  • Ensure that your child has an active lifestyle, with plenty of outdoor play
  • Closely monitor your child’s weight
  • Keep the total calorie intake to an age-appropriate level which is sufficient for the child’s growth and development

“A young child should not be having adult food portions. Also, the child can complete the meal with fruits rather than having a second serving,” suggests A/Prof Yap.

Medication including insulin may be required to manage the diabetes in the child.

Preventing diabetes in your child

Diabetes prevention involves much of the same steps required to manage the disease: You should make physical activity a regular part of your family’s life and watch your child’s weight (as well as your own). “If you have a strong family history of diabetes, you should pay even more attention to these aspects,” stresses A/P Yap.

Parents should learn as much as they can about diabetes and be the expert for their child. This way they can support their child in adjusting to living with diabetes. “Live the changes with your child as his or her risk factors are also your risk factors,” says A/Prof Yap.

See previous page for symptoms and risk factors of diabetes in children.

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