Too Much TV Can Increase Your Child's Risk Of Diabetes

Is your television the elephant in the room? That huge flatscreen that claims the attention of everyone in the room, sucking the attention away from books, exercise, and school work. Even turned off, it tempts us as the ideal solution to awkward silences, forced conversation, and strenuous activity. The kids want it, it’s easier than coming up with alternatives, and, let’s face it, you kind of want to see it yourself. So why not just give in and put it on? Because there is a laundry list of research proving that too much television is bad for your kids, and now there’s a new addition. Recent studies link television viewing with childhood diabetes.

The Facts
In a study done by British researchers, 4,500 children between the ages of nine and ten were asked about the amount of time they spent playing computer games and watching television. Of that number, 37% reported screen time of 60 minutes or less, while 18% claimed a daily habit of three or more hours.

An examination of the children to determine insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, amount of body fat and levels of physical activities followed. Results revealed that the children who admitted to three or more hours of screen time per day had a high level of insulin resistance, lower levels of the appetite controlling leptin, and a higher BMI, all of which are known risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Group of children watching TV

However, before you push the off button on the remote control, keep in mind there are qualifying factors. According to Claire Nightingale, PhD, “Screen time could be capturing something about your behaviors-how much sedentary time you have and how much you break those up, (or) what your dietary habits (are), potentially, In other words, the tv watching may not be the problem, but rather the symptom of a larger problem.

Healthy Media Use
While there are no strict guidelines on how much tv viewing is dangerous, there are a few ways of keeping your child’s screen time down:

  • Plan to have media free family time together, like family dinners.
  • Designate media free locations in the home.
  • Find out how much time your child is spending on media and place limits on hours and types of media.
  • Engage in family activities like reading, sports, and talking.
  • Model behavior by turning off tv and smartphone during media free time.
  • Share media rules with grandparents or caregivers to make sure the rules remain consistent.
  • Get together with other parents in your community to advocate for healthier habits.

What are you doing to make sure that your kids’ viewing times are down to a minimum? Let us know what steps you’re taking as a parent to keep your kids healthy.

Woman testing for diabetes

How Resveratrol May Help Fight Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most frequently experienced form of diabetes, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that 29 million Americans suffer from this condition. What’s worse is that one in four Americans with type 2 diabetes aren’t aware that they have it. Around 86 million Americans (one in three Americans) are in a prediabetic state where blood glucose levels are elevated, but not enough to be classified as diabetes. Diabetes treatments include careful monitoring of blood sugar levels, diet and exercise and medication when necessary. A new study suggests that resveratrol may also be able to help fight diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association states, “[i]n type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time your pancreas isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medication (pills) and insulin.”

Even if you don’t currently have type 2 diabetes, there is a good chance that you may be prediabetic. Lifestyle changes are one important way to help treat diabetes, or to lower your prediabetic levels. A diet that features foods low on the glycemic index is the first line of defense against diabetes type 2. Beans, whole grains, citrus fruits, berries and dark, leafy greens are all excellent choices when it comes to healthy eating. Exercise is also recommended for those who are prediabetic or who have type 2 diabetes. Sometimes, monitoring your blood glucose levels and making great lifestyle changes aren’t enough to treat diabetes.

Treatment
Traditionally, treatments for diabetes can include insulin or other injectables, oral medications in the form of pills, or even an aspirin regimen. However, a new study indicates that there may be another force that battles diabetes: resveratrol.

Resveratrol, found in foods such as red grapes, red wine, peanuts and blueberries, among others, may be an excellent dietary supplement for those with type 2 diabetes. Research and review of major reports and clinical trials indicates that resveratrol works against diabetes in several ways. Studies suggest that resveratrol helped with systolic blood pressure, hemoglobin AC1 and creatine. Because resveratrol is safe to use as a supplement, these findings are encouraging. Although resveratrol may be beneficial as a supplement to type 2 diabetes, it is important to note that resveratrol would not be effective as the sole treatment of diabetes. Resveratrol has no effect on fasting glucose levels, insulin and LDL/HDL. Additional research is necessary in order to conclude that resveratrol supplementation should be added to treatment plans for people with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a prevalent condition that has major impacts on the lives of those it affects. To reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, start increasing your intake of fruits, non-starchy vegetables and whole grains. Coupled with an active lifestyle, dietary changes can make a huge impact on your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.