New Study of Adults Shows Weight Loss Can Put Type 2 Diabetes in Remission. But What About Kids?
An endocrinologist looks at the importance of diet, exercise and family approach
A new study shows the importance and possibly life-changing impact of losing weight in controlling Type 2 diabetes. In a paper published in the Lancet, UK researchers found that people with diabetes went into remission after participating in a rigorous diet.
Almost half of the people who participated lost an average of 30 pounds, went into remission and were no longer diagnosed with diabetes. They did not take any medications during this time and relied solely on weight loss. “Remission of type 2 diabetes is a practical target for primary care,” the authors of the paper wrote.
The participants in the study were on a liquid diet of 825 to 853 calories daily for three to five months and then were reintroduced to solid food, while maintaining a structured diet over the course of a year.
All the individuals who participated in the study were adults (20-65 years of age).
Joel Steelman, M.D., an endocrinologist at Cook Children’s, said that weight loss has been especially effective in treating adults, whether through diet or after weight loss surgery, and can lead to de-escalation of treatment or stopping therapy. This has been especially true in adults, whether through diet or after weight loss surgery.
Dr. Steelman said children with type 2 diabetes will also benefit greatly from weight loss, but an extreme low calorie diet, like the one the participants in the adult study were on, is a bit more of a concern in a still growing, developing child. Dr. Steelman said pediatric endocrinologists focus on eating a healthier, lower calorie, lower carbohydrate diet, while also stressing the child becomes active.
“Weight loss and improved diet often leads to de-escalation of treatment for children – stopping insulin often and sometimes stopping oral medication,” Dr. Steelman said.
But a child can’t make extreme lifestyle changes without the entire family buying in and everyone in the household living healthier. A child needs the full support and active involvement from all family members. Therapeutic lifestyle changes need to last a lifetime.
“It’s essential for the parents to be extremely involved. You to have buy-in and support from the family,” Dr. Steelman said. “There’s often type 2 diabetes in one of both parents. It’s a no-brainer that the whole family will experience some benefit, whether immediate or future, from improving food choices and increasing activity. It’s critical to understand that type 2 diabetes is a deadly disease, and is associated with earlier and more frequent cardiovascular disease and premature mortality than type 1 diabetes mellitus.”
Get to know Joel Steelman, M.D.
Dr. Steelman is an endocrinologist at Cook Children's. He trained in endocrinology at the University of Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver, where the magnificent setting turned Dr. Steelman into a lifelong outdoor sport enthusiast, with a strong desire to lead a healthy life. On his rare days off, he could be found skiing, mountain biking and trail running. He loves to go back to the Rockies as often as possible, and just a few years ago, he ran the Pike’s Peak ascent half marathon. He continues to run for exercise regularly. Click here to learn more about Dr. Steelman. For about about scheduling a patient, click here or call 682-7960.