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Childhood obesity is on the rise and can lead to adverse health effects, such as type II diabetes development in children. A study published in Diabetologia has found that obese kids with type II diabetes may experience brain changes that could affect how well they learn in school. This is the first study that shows that the brain is affected by type II diabetes in children.

Effects on the Brain of Type II Diabetes in Children

According to the study, the brains of children who have type II diabetes are not working as effectively as they should be. As such, their ability to excel in school is adversely affected. What the study did not assess however, was whether or not this brain damage can be reversed. More research will be needed in order to determine if the brain changes due to type II diabetes in children can be reversed. The study found that the children who had type II diabetes did not perform as well on memory and spelling tasks and tests of overall intellectual functioning as their peers who did not have type II diabetes.

What Can Be Done

Unfortunately, it is not fully understood at this time how type II diabetes affects children’s ability to think and learn. However, researchers do know that the brain uses sugar for metabolism and that insulin resistance decreases the body’s ability to get more sugar to the brain. As such, children with type II diabetes should participate in physical activity every day in order to improve their insulin resistance. Weight loss often comes with exercise (along with healthy eating). Weight loss may also lead to an improvement in insulin resistance.

The best way to help prevent type II diabetes, often associated with being overweight or obese, is to practice a healthy lifestyle to begin with. Maintain a healthy diet, consisting of many fresh fruits and vegetables and be sure to incorporate physical activity into your regular routine. Encourage your child to get outdoors and partake in a family bike ride. Even indoors, a child can participate in active video games for a fun and unique workout. If you’re looking for a summer plan for your child, consider a weight loss camp such as Camp Shane.   We teach children how to follow and maintain a healthy lifestyle, all while encouraging friendships and fun.

WebMD Article