Severe disease diabetes affects more and more people every year. It often sneaks up unnoticed and, in some cases, allows recognizing itself only a few years after its onset, when it has become almost invincible. More than 425 million people worldwide suffer from this disease, which means that every eleventh person is affected by diabetes. Although modern medicine has taken an enormous step forward, turning diabetes from a death sentence into a disease that can be fought against, the world still needs drastic measures to keep the illness from spreading.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, the onset of which is caused due to the lack of insulin produced by the pancreas or organism’s inability to use this insulin. The level of its prevalence in the USA is 8,2%, in Germany – 10, 2%, in the UK – 4,2%, at that “one-third of the diabetic population is older than 65 years”(Timpel et al., 2019, para. 1). It is also predicted that the number of people affected by diabetes will almost double by 2030. There are a variety of programs aiming to tackle diabetes; however, they require substantial investment. For instance, the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), which fights obesity and ensures diabetes prevention, was funded at $103.8 million in 2019 (The State of Childhood Obesity, n.d.). Therefore, diabetes is considered one of the most dangerous non-infectious diseases, a menace for all ages.
Children Suffering from Diabetes
- Rates of diabetes in children.
- Specific problems of diabetes in children.
Children and adolescents are not immune to diabetes; it can affect everybody. About 210,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diabetes, and roughly one in six children in the USA suffers from obesity (The State of Childhood Obesity, n.d.). Moreover, to date, society faces a growing type 2 diabetes problem in the youth (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). One of the reasons for the onset of diabetes is the features of the body’s functioning in adolescence when puberty hormones prevent the organism from making insulin. Girls are more affected by type 2 diabetes than boys (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). Although the symptoms in children are not much different from those of adults, there are two specific problems. Firstly, the children’s illness can develop faster, and secondly, a child cannot independently control insulin indices. Thus, relatives must familiarize themselves with information about the sickness and treatment.
Government regulation of (Pre)school Settings for Children
- Dietary restrictions on a systematic level.
- Early care and education (ECE).
- Physical activity programs.
One of the main methods of diabetes prevention in children is the fight against obesity. Therefore, the authorities of many countries strive to change the school meal standards, eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) and unhealthy snacks, increasing the number of fruits and vegetables. The systematic review found out that “school district SSB policies and school food and nutrition policies can be effective in changing dietary habits” (Timpel et al., 2019, para. 12). Since early childhood is the crucial period for forming customs, it is planned to introduce specific rules in Early Care and Education Settings. Ensuring healthy eating and control of screen time are the main tasks of ECE settings (The State of Childhood Obesity, n.d). Moreover, 60 minutes of physical activity is the necessary minimum for children. If all these rules are followed and the plans are fulfilled, humanity will avoid those terrible figures predicted.
Programs, Policies, and Initiatives
- (SNAP) Initiative to provide food support.
- (CACFP) Initiative to provide food support for children and adults too.
- Policies work with clinical practices.
- Interconnected policies to address the problem comprehensively.
- Improved professional-medical worker communication.
- Cohesion in methods and approaches.
There are several major effective programs, which contribute to a healthy society. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nutrition assistance program that renders financial support to those whose profit does not pace the cost of living. The main aim of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is to supply financial aid to all states to compensate providers for the cost of providing nutritious meals and snacks (The State of Childhood Obesity, n.d.). Programs like these bring together different social institutions to ensure that diabetes is tackled at all levels and leaves no chance of illness. They also try to improve professional-medical worker communication, which will help find a solution faster. CDC Healthy Schools, for instance, works with school systems, clinical practices, and national partners, aiming to protect the health of children (The State of Childhood Obesity, n.d.). Thus, although diabetes is on the way and affects adults and children, the cohesion of medical workers, officials, and school staff contributes to its prevention. If people from all over the world unite and look for a solution together, then the disease can be defeated.
The State of Childhood Obesity. (n.d.). Priority policies for reducing childhood obesity.
Timpel, P., Harst L., Reifegerste, D., Weihrauch-Blüher, S., & Schwarz, P. E. (2019). What should governments be doing to prevent diabetes throughout the life course? Diabetologia, 62(10), 1842-1853.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Prevent type 2 diabetes in kids.