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Diabetes Health Center

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Type 2 Diabetes in Children - Topic Overview

A simple blood test is usually all that is needed to diagnose diabetes. Your child's doctor may do other blood tests if it is not clear whether your child has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

A doctor may test your child for diabetes if he or she is overweight, gets little physical activity, or has other risk factors for the disease. A risk factor is anything that increases your chances of having a disease. Some children are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when they have a blood or urine test for some other reason.

The key to treating diabetes is to keep your child's blood sugar levels within a target range. To do this:

  • Keep track of your child's blood sugar levels. This will help you and your child learn how different foods and activities affect his or her blood sugar. Your doctor can teach you and your child how to do this.
  • Teach your child to make healthy food choices.
    • Help your child to eat about the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal. This helps keep your child's blood sugar steady. Carbohydrate affects blood sugar more than other nutrients. It is found in sugar and sweets, grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and milk and yogurt.
    • Talk to your doctor, a diabetes educator, or a dietitian about an eating plan that will work for your child. There are many ways to manage how much and when your child eats.
  • Help your child stay active. Your child does not have to start a strict exercise program, but being more active can help control blood sugar. For example, your child could play outside with friends, take walks with family members, or take part in sports.
  • Set a good example. It will be easier for your child if the rest of the family also eats well and gets regular exercise. This may also reduce the risk that other family members will get the disease.
  • If your child needs medicine for diabetes, make sure that he or she takes it as prescribed.
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