Being at a healthy weight is a good idea for everyone, but it's even more important
for kids with diabetes. Why? Because carrying extra weight can make it harder to keep
blood sugar levels under control.
When kids with diabetes are at a healthy weight, they may have fewer diabetes problems.
This is true for all people with diabetes — whether they have type 1 or type
Diabetes and Your Weight
When someone has diabetes, his or her body doesn't use glucose
(say: GLOO-kose) properly. Glucose, a sugar, is the main source of energy for the
body. Glucose comes from the foods we eat. Glucose levels are controlled in the body
by a hormone called insulin
(say: IN-suh-lin), which is made in the pancreas.
Most people are overweight
when they first find out they have type
2 diabetes. The extra weight can make it harder for their bodies to use insulin.
That's why people who have type 2 diabetes will be encouraged to get to a healthy
weight by eating right and getting regular exercise. Exercise not only burns calories,
but it can also help the body use insulin. This makes it easier to keep blood
sugar levels on track.
Being at a healthy weight makes it less likely that someone will get type 2 diabetes.
And if someone already has type 2 diabetes, losing weight can make their diabetes
easier to manage and can even reduce the amount of medicine they need.
With type 1, kids may have the opposite problem — weight loss. Before they
know they have type 1 diabetes,
kids may lose weight because their bodies can't use glucose properly. Once someone
knows they have type 1 diabetes and gets treatment, he or she usually gets back to
a healthy weight.
It's also possible a kid with type 1 diabetes might be overweight. If so, the extra
weight can make it hard to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Are You at a Healthy Weight?
Doctors use your weight and height to calculate your body
mass index (BMI). The BMI is a number that helps doctors figure out whether your
weight is healthy.
Your doctor will tell you if you should lose weight to manage your diabetes. If
it turns out you don't need to lose weight, you can still help your health by eating
good-for-you foods and getting a lot of play time.
If your doctor wants you to lose some weight, you might feel upset or sad. But
try to focus your energy on getting healthy. You can do it — with some help
from your family, doctor, and the rest of your health care team!
Your diabetes meal
plan already helps you know what foods to eat, so you may just need to eat a little
less and be more active. It doesn't have to be boring or hard — you can just
do more fun stuff like ride your bike, play outside with
your friends, or dance to your favorite music in your room.
Kids with diabetes should never try fad diets or skipping meals or snacks to lose
weight. These things aren't good for anyone, and they're especially bad for kids with
diabetes. You need to keep your blood sugar levels on track, and extreme diets can
mess them up. Also, never skip insulin
injections to lose weight — it can make you get very sick in just a few
If you follow your doctor's advice about food and exercise,
you can reach your weight-loss goal — safely and successfully.