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Childhood Obesity: The Insulin Connection

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The importance of children maintaining a healthy weight and body-fat percentage until they reach decision-making age cannot be overemphasized. Aside from a healthy diet, exercise is paramount to a child's metabolic success. The best way to encourage children to exercise more is to lead by example. Take them out and do something!

The importance of children maintaining a healthy weight and body-fat percentage until they reach decision-making age cannot be overemphasized.

Obesity plays a major role in the development of type 2 diabetes, formally known as adult-onset diabetes. Today an alarming number of youngsters are developing type 2 diabetes.
Insulin is the key metabolic hormone of the body. High levels of insulin can lead to excess body fat. When insulin levels become chronically high the body often develops a resistance to the hormone. This leads to even higher insulin levels and, eventually, full-blown diabetes.

The Seeds for Obesity

It turns out that the seeds for obesity and diabetes can actually be sown in the womb. Fat cells can divide during the third trimester of pregnancy and have been shown to be very susceptible to increased insulin levels, which means they can easily store more fat.

Consuming too many high glycemic carbohydrates during pregnancy can cause an overabundance of insulin to be secreted in response to sugars in the bloodstream. In 1990 researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois discovered that the children of women who had the highest blood sugar readings during pregnancy were much more susceptible to being obese when they were young.

High Fibre Equals Low Insulin

One way to help your children avoid obesity and diabetes is to encourage them to eat low glycemic foods, which do not overly raise blood sugar and cause an unhealthy rise in insulin. Low glycemic foods are foods with high fibre content such as whole grains (not refined), fruits (especially berries), and vegetables (of the non-starchy variety).

There is limited research about the correlation between fibre intake, children, and obesity. However, nutritional researchers believe that reducing excess sugar and increasing dietary fibre, as suggested by some adult-based studies, could help children avoid a life of obesity and diabetes. A study by researchers from the Harvard Medical School in Boston showed that adult women who consumed the most whole grains over a 10-year period had a 38-percent lower risk of developing diabetes than those who didn't consume whole grains during that period. This study also showed that women who consumed the least amount of daily fibre were 31-percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those who consumed more daily fibre. The researchers also discovered that refined grains more than doubled the amount of sugar in the blood than whole grain products and caused more insulin to be secreted. Research presented in the journal Diabetes Care further supports the evidence that high dietary fibre intake is associated with enhanced insulin sensitivity and, therefore, may have a role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Aside from a healthy diet, exercise is paramount to a child's metabolic success. The best way to encourage children to exercise more is to lead by example. Take them out and do something!

Some Kid-Friendly Low Glycemic Foods

  • berries
  • plain organic yogourt
  • almonds
  • water
  • sunflower seeds

For a complete list of low glycemic foods, please visit fatwars.com/ultimatefuel.html.

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