20 Min Exercise Cuts Kid's Diabetes Risk: October 18, 2012

It’s all fun and games to four-year-old Blake Farry. But his mom knows better. She makes sure he gets a daily dose of exercise.

 “I really want try to promote healthier living and I think starting young is the best thing to do,” says Bridget Farry, mom.

Research finds kids who are active are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It’s estimated a third of children are overweight or obese, and that puts them at risk.

“The biggest issue that you see is the diabetes and the high blood sugar. And the reason for that is that your body’s insulin, the hormone that helps you control the blood sugars, is less effective,” says Dr. Asjad Khan, pediatric endocrinologist with the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Dr. Khan treats kids with diabetes.

“A lot of the kids end up with some sort of endocrine maladies, whether it’s cholesterol problems, insulin resistance, boys with breast enlargement; there’s usually some underlying endocrine abnormality,” says Dr. Khan.

Researchers wanted to find out how much exercise made a difference. It turns out, not much. A new study found kids who were active for just 20 minutes a day were more fit, had less body fat and fewer markers for diabetes.

These results occurred without changing what the kids ate, isolating the importance and impact of physical activity. Reinforcing it to moms like Farry.

“Getting them outside, exercising... a lot of parents now just want to get them in front of the TV’s or the games,” says Farry.

Experts believe a balanced approach will pay off in our kids’ well-being.

“Some people need to be more heavy on the exercise, some people need to focus more on the sugared drinks, some people need to focus more on the portion size, but everybody has to look at what they are doing,” says Dr. Khan.