OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Simple changes in a family's lifestyle can stop chronic illnesses in children before they start. For 12-year-old Austin Stanfill, a makeover of his family's diet allowed him to prevent a type-2 diabetes diagnosis.
Austin was overweight when he went to Kaiser Permanente Orchards Medical Office in Vancouver, Wash. to be treated for pneumonia. Weighing in at more than 150 pounds in the sixth grade, Austin told pediatrician Sara Bell, MD, he often found himself surrounded by junk food. During the appointment, a series of tests revealed a diagnosis of pre-diabetes.
"I was sad and disappointed because I never thought that would happen to me," Austin said. "I thought I was doing OK."
Austin was not alone in fighting his pre-diabetes diagnosis. Nearly 1 in 400 children is diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and the numbers have been increasing. When children are at-risk for chronic conditions such as pre-diabetes and obesity, Kaiser Permanente provides resources, such as dieticians, to help stop these conditions before they start.
To help Austin get healthy, his family banded together to make lifestyle changes recommended by Austin's Kaiser Permanente dietician that would benefit all of them. They swapped unhealthy foods for fresh fruits and vegetables. Austin's parents began buying lean proteins such as chicken and fish.
The transition wasn't easy at first. "Most of the foods I didn't like at the very beginning," Austin said. Yet within two weeks, Austin became accustomed to the new style of eating, which allowed him to shed excess weight and participate in his physical education classes at school.
Dr. Bell kept a close eye on Austin's progress throughout his weight-loss journey, encouraging him along the way. "I sent him a note letting him know that I appreciated the hard work he's done," she said. "I was really impressed."
Since his initial weigh-in at the doctor's office, Austin has shed more than 25 pounds, and is no longer at-risk for pre-diabetes. His new lifestyle has inspired his friends and classmates to get healthy. He's even earned himself a new nickname: Fancy Salad Man.
Had it not been for Dr. Bell's straightforward recommendation to get healthy, Austin would have found himself battling a chronic condition at a young age. "I would probably have diabetes if I kept my lifestyle how it was," Austin said. "I'm glad Dr. Bell told me so that I could get it under control."
To watch Austin's story and learn more about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, visit the Kaiser Permanente Care Stories blog at kp.org/carestories.
Launched in July 2011, Care Stories is a collection of first-person video narratives from Kaiser Permanente members talking about their own care in their own words, unscripted and uncompensated.
About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9.1 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/newscenter.