Oct 23, 2023
With David Norec, author and activist
The rate of childhood or pediatric obesity has increased dramatically in the past few years with approximately one-third of children in the U.S. diagnosed as overweight or obese. While many people may dismiss childhood obesity as something they’ll eventually grow out of, more often than not, obese children become obese adults who risk developing any number of health-related issues. Sadly, these same health consequences might have been avoided if their obesity had been addressed in childhood. Being overweight significantly increases the likelihood of a child developing type 2 diabetes and other potential health consequences, such as high blood pressure and sleep apnea, that could result from childhood obesity. Pediatric diabetes also increases the likelihood of developing serious health complications later in life such as retinopathy, neuropathy, kidney, and cardiovascular disease. But the risk is not just limited to physical consequences. Childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes are also associated with an increased risk for psychological problems such as severe depression, binge eating, and an overall reduced quality of life. Today, we’re going to be speaking with David Norec, an author and activist who is drawing attention to the problem of childhood obesity through his books and combating it in a wonderfully creative manner.
What You’ll Hear in This Episode:
David talks about how diabetes has impacted his life and affected his family.
What was it like for David growing up in the most obese city in America?
How did David get diagnosed with diabetes, and how has he changed his life?
What is type 2 diabetes and how does it differ from type 1?
The importance of getting physical movement every day. For David, it’s his daily walks at the mall.
What inspired David to write a book and create an action plan to address the problems of childhood obesity and diabetes?
More about David’s book, Exo and Cy, and how it inspires both parents and children to win the battle against obesity.
What are Storybook Walks and Fit Lit parks that encourage families to get out in the world and move?
Why a healthy lifestyle can be an ingredient in academic success.
Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S., particularly in socioeconomically deprived communities where children don’t have access to healthy, well-balanced meals. As we learned from David, for the past six years, McAllen, Texas has been named the fattest city in America. Over 40% of the population in the Rio Grande Valley is currently obese or diabetic. Studies indicate that being overweight as a child or adolescent is one of the biggest risks for type 2 diabetes, especially when combined with a family history of diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle. That’s truly frightening when you consider that more than 1.5 million deaths a year are directly attributed to diabetes. But as we’ve heard today, early intervention is the key. Educating children and their parents on the importance of proper nutrition and daily physical activity is the first step. Making sure that at-risk children, especially those with food insecurity issues, have access to healthy meal options and safe opportunities for daily physical fitness can go a long way toward reversing a family history of obesity. Remember that every day is a gift and the gift we get from giving children the tools to become their own best health advocate from a young age, is a gift that will keep on giving for a lifetime! I’m Florine Mark, and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”
“Diabetes is my family member, which is ridiculous and sad, but that’s my life.” — David [3:20]
“It’s a sad and slow process and it’s very difficult to see your loved ones go through that.” — David [5:20]
“It has to be part of life, and not just for diabetes, but other obesity-related illnesses, to just do something rather than just sitting inside and not doing anything.” — David [8:21]
“It’s too late for my brothers and too late for my sister, but it’s not too late for the next generation.” — David [9:14]
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