56ºF

Students learn healthier eating habits

Study: 1 in 4 teens has diabetes, prediabetes

Students at Kings Trail Elementary School eat vegetables from the school's garden as they learn about healthier habits.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Students at Kings Trail Elementary School eat fresh food grown in the school garden as they learn about healthier habits.

"You're like at home and you're eating snacks and stuff, and then you come here and you're eating like healthy stuff and vegetables," fifth-grader Erick Nagron said.

Nagron is getting a head start against risky diseases.

A newly released study developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows nearly one in four teens has diabetes or prediabetes.

The goal Kings Trail is to lower the numbers by teaching students positive choices.

"I told my mom what we were doing at school and she thought it was a good idea, so we started it at home, too," student Fatbardha Buresha said.

The key is eating well and staying active. Doctors say when kids exercise, they need to work up a sweat.

"Even the active video games like the Wii fit video games are good as far as burning calories, but for a child to be active, they have to be getting out of breath and sweaty and hot. They can't just be walking the dog," pediatrician Dr. Hilleary Rockwell said.

Rockwell has noticed the trend in recent years. She warns parents there are a number of diseases directly caused by unhealthy lifestyles that could put kids in jeopardy.

"Diabetes if just one complication of being overweight and being out of shape, so that's in addition to complications like heart problems, kidney problems, blood pressure problems," Rockwell said. "So that's just one more problem, one more reason you try to want to get in shape."

Researchers believe promoting healthy environments helps make it easier for kids. It may be tough, but they argue the extra effort is worth it for a child's well-being.