Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes in Children

Treating your child's type 2 diabetes

Treating type 2 diabetes is an ongoing process of management and education that involves not only the child with diabetes, but also family members, and often the condition can be controlled through losing weight, improved nutrition and increased exercise and activity levels.

Through education, dietary consultation and behavior modification therapy, our team can empower you and your child to successfully manage your child's diabetes. Our registered nutritionists and dieticians will work with you to develop a meal plan based on your child's specific needs. And our diabetes nurse-educators will work with you and your family to increase your knowledge and confidence, so you can best care for your child.

After stabilizing your child, the goal of treating her for type 2 diabetes will be to keep blood-sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Your child's diabetes team will help you control her blood sugar (glucose) through:

  • meal planning
    • healthful food choices
    • portion control
    • meals at regular intervals
    • reduced snacking
  • increased and regular physical activity, which improves the body's insulin acceptance
  • weight management
  • routine health care, including frequent monitoring of blood-sugar levels

But sometimes even these steps these aren't enough—and your child's doctor will need to prescribe oral medications and/or insulin.

What’s a healthful diet for kids with type 2 diabetes?

Proper meal-planning is very important if your child has diabetes, since the type and amount of food your child eats affects her blood sugar levels. If she eats too much, her blood sugar may go up too high. If she skips meals, her blood sugar may go too low. Good blood sugar control requires a balance of food, exercise and medication. Healthy meals include foods that contain the right amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat. 

Understanding your child's feelings and condition

Regardless of your child's age, a diagnosis of diabetes can be devastating. Your child may resist all the lifestyle changes that must come with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. She may experience feelings of:

  • vulnerability
  • anger
  • difference from peers (“Why me?”)

If your child is a teen with diabetes, the normal challenges of the teenage years can even more intense. Teens want to belong, and being different in any way from one's peers can be emotionally stressful. She may:

  • become rebellious and refuse to comply
  • experience denial of the disease
  • become aggressive in reaction to the stress of managing diabetes

Blood sugar control is especially hard during adolescence. Researchers believe the growth hormone produced during adolescence that stimulates bone and muscle growth may also act as an anti-insulin agent. Blood sugar levels become harder to control—resulting in blood sugar levels that swing from too low to too high. This lack of control over blood sugar levels can be very frustrating for your teen.

Family interdependence is the key

Although a child who's diagnosed with type 2 diabetes needs supervised medical care, the ideal relationship between parents and child is one of interdependence—with family members working together as a team—especially with a healthful diet—to help the child live normally and happily. With your encouragement and our diabetes team's guidance, your child will learn how to take care of her diabetes—and her increasing independence will improve her self-esteem.

Work together towards prevention

Your child may be able to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by eliminating or reducing her risk factors—particularly by losing weight and increasing exercise. The Type 2 Diabetes Program at Children's can work with you and your child to develop a plan for this. Your child's diabetes team is committed to helping you control and manage her type 2 diabetes—so your whole family can thrive.