Many Diabetic Teens at Risk for Complications
Many young teens with type 1 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular and diabetes-related complications because they do not follow recommended nutritional guidelines for carbohydrate, fat, and fiber intake. Current recommendations for patients with type 1 diabetes suggest taking 50% to 55% of calories from carbohydrates, 15% to 20% from protein, 30% to 35% from fat, and less than 7% saturated fat.
Randi Streisand, PhD, reported in a poster session at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Endocrine Society that in half of 257 children with type 1 diabetes they studied, the daily consumption of bad (LDL) cholesterol was greater than what is recommended by U.S. and international guidelines for children with type 1 diabetes. The primary immediate goal of treatment in type 1 diabetes is to regulate hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, which reflect blood sugar control, and researchers note that there has not been enough emphasis on healthy eating. Many young diabetic patients have trouble following their medication regimens and controlling their diets, especially in their teenage years when they are beginning to exert their independence.
The researchers analyzed data regarding the 24-hour dietary intake of participants in a randomized intervention trial. They found that the participants’ increased caloric intake from fat and polyunsaturated fat, was positively correlated with high HbA1c levels, indicating poor blood sugar control. These also correlated with total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. On the other hand, they were found to consume a lower percentage of calories from carbohydrates and fiber, which were negatively correlated with blood sugar control.
Streisand, who is from the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, and colleagues note that these findings may place them at increased risk for cardiovascular diabetes-related complications. They emphasize the need to educate the patients and their families about long-term nutrition.
Walsh, N. Diabetic Teens Don’t Eat Wisely. MedPage Today