The nutritional needs of children who are diabetic are of the utmost importance. Not only should parents educate themselves on diabetes, they have to ensure that their children understand it and know the risks of living with the condition. To shed some light on the subject, Wellington Mokoena, a Polokwane-based dietitian who has been in private practice for 16 years, joins this episode of the Health For Mzansi podcast.
Mokoena is passionate about good nutrition, not only in response to a medical condition but also as a lifestyle since prevention is better than cure.
When diagnosing a child with diabetes, there are multiple symptoms to look out for. Mokoena highlights the three main symptoms:
- An increase in water consumption as a result of an intense thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Due to nutrients not reaching the body cells, most children will experience weight loss.
Mokoena emphasises that a balanced diet is essential when it comes to diabetic children’s health.
He further explains that even though carbohydrates contain glucose, which the body cannot process properly, the child still needs the right amount of glucose for energy and strengthening of the immune system. Regardless of the condition of the child, a key focus for which we must always advocate is the balanced consumption of all food groups, says Mokoena.
Concerning the nutritional needs of diabetic children, it is not a question of whether they should be consuming more or less from one food group, they need to ensure that their bodies can absorb what they eat.
In the podcast, Mokoena also discusses:
- Regarding snacks and sugary treats, parents should have a healthy and clear communication strategy with children. Once children understand, it will be easier to adapt to healthier snack treats like nuts and fruits.
- The dangers of being rigid with meal plans and examples of foods high in fibre and nutrients.
Listen to the full interview on the Health For Mzansi podcast:
Apple Podcasts: Click here to listen on any Apple device.
Google Podcasts: Click here to listen on Google Podcast.
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