Prediabetes and Your Child
You’ve been told that your child has prediabetes. This means that your child's blood
sugar (glucose) is too high. Your child is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, the body isn't able to use insulin very well. Insulin is needed
to use the sugar in the blood. This is different than type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes,
the body doesn't make enough insulin. It's most often from the body's immune system
damaging the cells in the pancreas. The pancreas is the organ where insulin is made.
Over time, high blood sugar
(hyperglycemia) can lead to many health problems. For example, when your child is
or she may develop heart, eye, or kidney disease. You can take action now to lower
child's blood glucose level and help prevent diabetes in your child.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means your child has a
higher than normal level of sugar in his or her blood. Lab tests to check blood sugar
Fasting blood sugar (FBS).
This test measures blood sugar after not eating for at least 8 hours, often
overnight. A normal FBS should be less than 100 mg/dL.
Glucose tolerance test (GTT). This test measures blood sugar 2 hours after drinking
a special high-sugar drink. A normal 2-hour GTT should be less than 140 mg/dL.
Hemoglobin A1C (glycated hemoglobin, A1C). This test measures the average blood sugar
over time. A normal A1C should be less than 5.7%.
This means that your child had an
FBS level of 100 to 125 at least once. Your child may also have had a 2-hour GTT result
of 140 to 199, or an A1C of 5.7% to 6.4%. Higher values than these ranges normally
that your child has diabetes.
Who is at risk for prediabetes?
Diabetes often runs in families. African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian
American, and Pacific Islander families are often affected. Your child may be more
likely to develop diabetes if:
He or she spends more time sitting than being active
He or she is overweight for his or her age and height
A parent or sibling has diabetes
The mother had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
Talk with your child's healthcare provider about these and other risks.
You can help prevent type 2 diabetes
You can help decrease your child’s
risk of getting diabetes. Work with your child’s healthcare provider on the
Healthy eating. Make sure
your child is eating many different kinds of foods. Focus on fresh fruits and
vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Limit sugars and fats.
And limit processed, prepackaged foods and fast foods, such as burgers, fries, and
shakes. Stay away from sugary drinks, such as nondiet soda, sports drinks,
lemonade, and sweet tea. These foods are high in calories, fat, and sodium. They
are also low in nutrition.
Physical activity. Being active helps your child’s body use glucose. Try for at least 60
minutes of active playtime every day. It doesn’t have to be all at once. A few playtimes
of 10 to 20 minutes add up.
Weight loss. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about a healthy weight-loss
goal. Even a loss of 5% to 10% of body weight may help your child’s body use glucose
To learn more
For more information about
diabetes, visit these websites:
American Association of
Diabetes Educators www.aadenet.org
American Association of
Clinical Endocrinologists www.aace.com
National Diabetes Information