March 21, 2007
Complications, Meal Planning, Food and Diet
Question from Los Angeles, California, USA:
My son is 12 years old. I want him to live a happy healthy life. He is playing sports right now and I want him to be big and strong. I don’t want to put him on a low fat diet because he is still growing. Does diet have anything to do with foot problems later in life and blood flow to the feet? I would like for him to eat so he can gain weight. He is skinny.
Sorry, but your question is really rather vague to me. If your choices when you grow up are between being “big and fat” versus “short and thin,” then short and thin are healthier.
Overall glucose control, which hinges on proper insulin dosing, meal planning, and regular exercise, is much more important for overall health and prevention of diabetic foot problems than simply focusing on some type of food.
Hopefully, your 12 year old is followed by a pediatric endocrinologist. That person or their diabetes team, especially a nutritionist well-versed in diabetes, can better tell you if your child is growing and gaining weight appropriately or not.
You may wish to ask to talk to the nutritionist specifically.
[Editor’s comment: People with diabetes who suffer from problems with their feet usually have neuropathy, most often caused by prolonged high blood sugars. See the NIDDK’s page on Diabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes for more information.