Antara, Jakarta – Cases of diabetes in children aged 0-14 years increased seventy-fold in 2023 compared to the case number in 2010, the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI) reported. The rise in cases of type 2 diabetes in children is caused by various factors, one of which is food and beverages.
There have been no rules regarding sugar limit in children's snacks and drinks. Sweetened beverages are now easily available in the school cafeteria and are at very affordable prices starting from Rp1,000. They are also easy to find outside the canteen.
IDAI chairperson Piprim Basarah Yanuarso said that children's snacks that are not nutritious, rich in sugar and carbohydrates, and are indeed easily found would have an impact on health in the long term. "Foods that lack nutrients can cause various metabolic syndrome diseases," said Piprim.
Metabolic syndrome is a health disorder that occurs simultaneously and is associated with an increased risk of various diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Not only low-priced sugary drinks, premium ones such as boba drinks are also rich in sugar. A nutritional study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) showed that a 16-ounce glass of such a modern drink exceeds the upper limit for added sugar intake recommended by the 2015 United States (US) Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. One glass of boba drink can produce much higher calories above 16 percent of total energy intake.
Likewise, shops of contemporary ice cream are currently rampant and easy to find in various regions. A glass of boba sundae reportedly contains 364 kilocalories or kcal.
Apart from sugary beverages, high-fat foods are also one of the triggers for type 2 diabetes in children. Some parents often easily give them to their children for practical reasons.
Piprim explained that if children are continuously given foods with a high glycemic index, their blood sugar could easily increase and then drastically drops. Consequently, insulin will be produced continuously and is in high levels in the blood, causing the pancreas to work extra which leads to diabetes.
A sedentary lifestyle such as sitting down and playing with gadgets for a long period also affects children's health and accelerates the occurrence of generative diseases and premature aging due to chronic inflammation. Thus, it is not a surprise that type 2 diabetes which is usually suffered by adults aged 40 years and over is now affecting many teenagers.