Michelle Rupp: J.J. Mayo joins us now. And J.J., you are a nutritionist, you’re a Ph.D., you’re a professor at UCA, you have a wellness company … there’s so much, and this next portion about exercise and diet when it comes to children and type two diabetes is right up your alley. Thanks for joining us. 

J.J. Mayo: I’m excited to be here. This is a big topic.

MR: It is. So, we learned from Dr. Chad in our last segment that the number of children diagnosed with type two diabetes has doubled during the pandemic. And I mean, my goodness, okay, the first thing I wanted to do was grab my niece and nephew and just, “we’ve got to get outside and run around the block or something.” But, you know, when you kind of stop and think about it during 2020, we were virtual schools. We were on the screens. We weren’t at recess. We weren’t going outside. So, I guess the statistic, although it initially sounds shocking, it’s not surprising.

JM: That’s exactly what I was going to say. I’m a little surprised, but I am not shocked. You think about what we did is we brought all our kids indoors to learn when typically, they go to school. They’re going to have gym class. They’re going to have recess. They’re going to be way more active. And not to mention the fact if they’re at home 24/7 around the refrigerator, bad things can happen just like most parents found out during the pandemic that 19 – 20-pound gain.

MR: Yes. So, if the parent has received this diagnosis for their child, what are some easy steps they can immediately start implementing around the house?

JM: Right. And so, the first thing I would say to parents if they get this diagnosis for their child is to take a deep breath. In my experience, type two diabetes is not a life sentence. It can be controlled. It can be. Some people will balk at this, but it can be reversed. Know that you can work and improve these conditions. Typically, what you would do is you would have a team, you know, you can do it yourself, but you would have a team, right? You have your pediatrician. You’d have maybe endocrinologists and registered dietitians to work together to help these kids improve their health, improve their conditions. So, if you had to ask me, what were some simple things that you could do, the first one is to reduce or eliminate sugar. That’s easier said than done, you know, it’s just so hard because it’s everywhere. Sugar is all over the place.

MR: In ketchup.

JM: Yeah, it’s in ketchup. It’s in everything. And that’s why a lot of times parents if they’re not into nutrition, they don’t see all this. It’s everywhere. It’s in everything we do. And here’s the thing about type two diabetes, I don’t know if you’ve talked about this, but type two diabetes, it’s a condition that’s characterized by high blood sugar. So, if you think of it this way if you have high blood sugar, wouldn’t the solution lower your sugar intake?

MR: It seems simple.

JM: Yeah. So that would be the first step. Now, some of the things are pretty obvious, like your sodas, right? That’s your sugary drinks, your sports drinks, a lot of times you can overdo those. But some of the things that we don’t think about, we think I’m healthy, we can overdo stuff like juice, orange juice in particular. If you think of kids drinking a cup of orange juice, think about how many oranges you’d have to squeeze to get that cup of juice. Right? It’s highly concentrated in sugar, so just be careful with that. That’s the first thing. The next thing is to move. You know, our bodies are made to move, especially kids, right? And now we’ve got this pandemic where we’re asking them to do classes and doors, and we do not want to be around their friends. And you know, there’s just challenges around that. Kids are meant to be outside and to play, you know, and so that’s what I would say is to move more in any fashion, you can, whether it be with your parents or hopefully we’re getting back to where we’re playing with other kids and doing that type thing. Just be active. The last one is to eat real food. I know this, you know, these processed and refined foods, sometimes they call them Franken-foods, can cause a problem. Three tips, Franken foods, because they’ve been manufactured, they … if you put it outside, that’s the thing, if it doesn’t rot and it looks the same a month from now as it did when you put it out there, that’s a problem.

MR: Okay, great advice, J.J. As always, thank you for stopping by today.